The program to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is an innovative proposal to produce competitive students in the STEM disciplines. The primary purpose of this project is to increase and broaden underrepresented minority participation in the nation’s STEM workforce through focused recruitment, retention and mentoring programs, and by successfully graduating students in STEM disciplines. Kentucky State University is the only historically black college or university (HBCU) in Kentucky and has significant potential for training minority students in STEM fields.
As indicated in various studies, the major reason for poor retention of minority students in STEM program are economic hardship, academic and administrative factors that lead students towards inadequate preparation for a college education and a low level of confidence in STEM disciplines. The transition from high schools and two year institutions to the university environment often poses a unique hurdle for minority students that can negatively impact their academic performance. Many low income students from urban and rural high schools are admitted and receive financial aid but then find it difficult to adjust to the college environment due to inadequate support, lack of mentorship and advising.
The comprehensive and direct achievement goals of the STEM education project after its successful implementation are:
- 30% increase in minority students enrollment in STEM fields
- 25% increase in the number of minority students graduating with a STEM degree
- 20% reduction in attrition in the entry level course
- 30% increase in minority students’ participation in project and inquiry based STEM research.