Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded Morgan State University $249,544 to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The project — Pathways to Enhance Retention of Students in Science to Transition (PERSIST) – seeks to address the roadblocks that freshmen students experience in STEM disciplines with targeted interventions. The overall goal is to significantly increase the retention rate of underrepresented minority students at the University choosing STEM career paths.
“This federal investment in Morgan State’s STEM education programs comes as good news for students and our state economy alike,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Honorary Chair of the 2016 Morgan State STEM Expo. “A growing number of jobs require sophisticated STEM training, and when our students have the competency to compete for them, we all win.”
“Increasing access and diversity in STEM fields is vital to our economy in Maryland and across the country. That effort starts in schools, and this grant will help Morgan State accomplish both goals,” said Senator Van Hollen, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and longtime STEM advocate. “This program will help students get the training they need to compete for 21st century jobs and a lifetime of success in their careers.”
Activities that are part of this project are: a six-week pre-college transition program to enhance retention and persistence of a number of incoming freshmen in the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; development of an interdisciplinary lab-based research course and core student research laboratory; and integration of critical thinking activities and assessment into freshmen STEM curricula. The activities and strategies are evidence-based, and what is learned through this project can serve as a model for other institutions.