UCF COMPASS (Convincing Outstanding-Math-Potential Admits to Succeed in STEM)
This STEP Type 1B Project (compass: Convincing Outstanding-Math-Potential Admits to Succeed in STEM) is implementing a sustainable model for recruiting freshman students into STEM majors and helping them to persist in STEM to a bachelor's degree. Towards this goal, the main objectives are:
Recruit new freshmen with strong SAT mathematics scores who are undeclared majors into enrolling in the COMPASS STEM Explorations course, offered in both the fall and spring, and convince them to choose a STEM major by the end of their freshman year by reinforcing the course with additional experiences (described in the next paragraph);
Retain a majority of the recruited majors in STEM through graduation; and
Determine how career interest and career readiness assessments influence student choice of STEM majors and retention in STEM through graduation in order to improve this model.
Undeclared majors entering college for the first time are encouraged at orientation to register for a course in Career Planning. All registered students with high mathematics SAT scores are placed into the STEM section of this course called Explorations in STEM Careers, which teaches self-assessment, explores the world-of-work with STEM specifics, and provides experiential learning through job shadowing. Following course completion, more extensive job shadowing experiences are offered, followed up by sophomore undergraduate research experiences and industrial internships. These experiences are intended to develop and strengthen participating students' emerging identities as scientists and engineers. The COMPASS learning community is supported by a network of mentors made up of peers, graduate students, staff, faculty, administrators, and industrial STEM professionals.
This Type 1B model expects to produce 473 more degrees during the grant's lifetime. The institutionalization of the project's activities has the potential to sustain a gain of 95 additional STEM degrees per year after the grant is completed.