Urban STEM Collaboratory

Collaborative Research: The Urban STEM Collaboratory - Building STEM Identity and Student Success through Academic, Financial, Social, and Career Support

The NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program supports the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need. This collaborative project led by the University of Memphis, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will provide scholarships to students pursuing baccalaureate degrees in engineering and mathematics. Through its five years of funding, this project will support at least 50 students at each institution, for a total of 150 unique students. Administrators and faculty from the partner institutions' colleges or schools of engineering and mathematics departments will partner to provide academic, social, professional, and peer networking, as well as career preparation. The lack of STEM identity is a fundamental reason that students often cite for leaving STEM majors and careers. This project will investigate mechanisms for supporting a diverse set of students in an urban context in their development of a STEM identity. Results of this project will help meet the national need for a highly skilled workforce in engineering and mathematics and generate knowledge about STEM identity across all disciplines.

This project seeks to increase the recruitment, retention, student success, and graduation rates of high-achieving undergraduate students with financial need, who are majoring in mathematical sciences and engineering at each institution. The partnering institutions plan to implement ambitious but feasible strategies that contribute to student academic success, development of STEM identity, and workforce readiness. In addition, they plan to incentivize substantial student participation in project activities through a badging system. Activities for mathematics and engineering classes will be designed to support a high probability of student success. The institutions intend to conduct formative and summative evaluations that will focus on determining effectiveness and impact of the project activities, strategies, and adjustments. The project also plans to examine factors influencing development of STEM identity and the resulting impact on student success, attitudes, workforce readiness, and STEM self-efficacy. Attention will be paid to impact on first-generation students and students from other groups that are underrepresented in engineering and mathematics. Innovative aspects of the project will include deploying features from CourseNetworking software to provide scholars with evidence of their learning journey, while expanding a meaningful academic social network and building a STEM identity facilitated by a comprehensive, cloud-native software environment. CourseNetworking will include a student ePortfolio that will serve as a digital collection of each student's work and accomplishments. The ePortfolio will provide certification badges that mark the student's participation and will maintain a record of the student's attainment of knowledge, behaviors, and skill sets. The project will strive to develop and disseminate a vetted, practical, sustainable, and transportable model to recruit and retain high-achieving students with financial need and provide them with avenues for success in STEM studies and careers. 

SEIRI Evaluators: Justin L Hess; Anthony Chase

IUPUI Investigators: David Russomanno (PI); Karen Alfrey; Clayton Nicholas; Jeffrey Watt; Terri Talbert-Hatch

Memphis Investigators: Stephanie Ivey (PI); Craig Stewart; John Haddock; James Campbell; Aaron Robinson

UC Denver Investigators: Maryam Darbeheshti (PI); Martin Dunn; Tom Altman; Michael Jacobson

Funding Organization: NSF Division of Undergraduate Education

RFP: Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM)

Grant Status: Current (10/01/2018 - 9/30/2023)

IUPUI Award #: 1833817

IUPUI Award Amount: $1,701,277

Total Award Amount: $4,988,310

STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
755 W. Michigan Street
University Library, UL 1123
Indianapolis, IN 46202-2800
Email: seiri@iupui.edu