Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
Jinghe Mao - Tougaloo College
Co-Author(s): Scharri Walker, Lianna Li and Scoty Hearst, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS
While cultural diversity has been predicted to be a key component in establishing a successful STEM pipeline, a decrease in African Americans prepared for STEM courses and graduating in STEM disciplines has been witnessed. At Tougaloo, we have noted that less than 20% of freshman STEM students are prepared to handle the rigor of college-level science courses. This is further compounded by the fact that approximately 50% of those taking introductory-level biology or chemistry may fail the course. Of note, half of those who fail these classes will eventually change to a non-STEM major and/or leave the college altogether. Our curriculum need to be changed to adapt to new environment and current generation of students. We hypothesized that early exposure to a hands-on research program enhances retention rate of underrepresented minority students in the STEM fields at first two years and increases their confidence in doing biological research. The one day workshops in genetics, forensic science, microbiology and immunology were implemented and opened to all STEM majors. There were total about 90 participants. The most significant results we found is that the retention rate for these group of participants is 90% which is much higher than the typical numbers. Both students and faculty considered that the workshops were best modules for STEM students to have hand-on research experiences with real life applications.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This work was funded by the National Science Foundation's HBCU-UP, Implementation Grant, Award # 1912191
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,
NSF Affiliation: HBCU-UP