Increasing Access to the Biological Sciences
The Increasing Access to the Biological Sciences project will support 14 academically talented, financially challenged students to complete a baccalaureate degree in the Biological Sciences at Dominican College of Blauvelt. In addition, this project will provide a variety of resources proven to ensure student success and reduce attrition rates among STEM majors. A unique partnership between the College, area high schools, and the region's industrial sectors will be fostered through the implementation of this project. Through this cooperation, the project will expand awareness of the career opportunities in these fields among students, parents, and teachers. Decreasing the time to degree, while simultaneously placing scholars in a variety of research environments, will also have a positive impact on recruitment of other talented students to Dominican College. It is expected that the project will catalyze change in the culture of the Science Department among both the students, faculty, and community-at-large. The project will fund two cohorts, the first year comprised of six students, the second comprised of eight students, for up to $10,000 each year. The direct results of this support will be an increase in the number of students who successfully complete their undergraduate degree in Biology in four years, and increase the number of students entering STEM careers.
The technical merit of the project relies on the strong academic and social structures and activities available to strengthen student cohorts and foster their success. These include opportunities for training to be laboratory mentors for high school students, participation in active research projects and internships with the college's industrial partners. Scholars will be supported by team members from numerous departments at Dominican College who are fully dedicated to student success. Progress will be determined using surveys which identify issues that could help or hinder a student's chances of completing their degree. A tracking system will be utilized to coordinate among faculty regarding performance in all of the participants' classes. The project activities are expected to promote skills in creative, logical and independent thinking, communication, analysis, and assembling, synthesizing and presenting scientific knowledge. Various events and activities will be organized to create a learning community among the scholars, with inclusion of non-scholars, to foster a change in the culture within the Biology program. The project also provides opportunities for intellectual collaboration between Dominican College and industry, while providing a high quality education in the Biological Sciences. Assessment of the efficacy of these different activities will help contribute to expanding the knowledge base regarding the circumstances under which scholarship projects of this type are successful.