Le Moyne College was granted $650,000 from the National Foundation Award for Scholarships for a new STEM program called SCORE, that will be initiated this fall.
The STEM Community Outreach Research Engagement, or SCORE program, will take 20 low-income STEM students (those in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs) and give them better opportunities to take their work into the community and prepare them for the workforce or graduate school, according to the Le Moyne Dolphin Digest.
The program will begin this coming fall, and recruitment will begin during the summer, said Dr. Emily Ledgerwood, Assistant Professor of Biology. Twenty students will be recruited for over two years. Ten students will be recruited for the 2018-2019 academic year, and another ten for the 2019-2020 year, making the duration of the program for five years, she said.
Students will receive $3,750 in their first year, and if they stay through their second to the fourth year, they will receive $5,250 each year, said Ledgerwood.
What makes this program different from the program that STEM students now go through is not only the money but the direct connection to the community and their three-tier mentor [a faculty mentor, a career mentor and a peer mentor], according to Ledgerwood.
The school has already reached out to local businesses and nonprofits to generate to options for students like Baltimore Woods Nature Center in Marcellus, says Dr. Ledgerwood. Other ideas include going to senior citizen homes and teaching computer skills to residents. The program is also hoping that the students will bring their own ideas that the grant can be a liaison for, Ledgerwood added.
“Students in different areas could benefit from learning database and system design to better support business and research in their area,” Dr. Yue Han, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, says. “Students could help the community better organize their information or optimize their current systems.”
“In Biology, we see a lot of students who are tracking to the health professions [Doctors or Physician Assistants],” said Dr. Ledgerwood. “The SCORE program really highlights academic research, so they want to work in a lab and I was interested in bringing those students to our campus to diversify the department.”
The current demographics for STEM students at Le Moyne are 53% women, 12% under-represented minorities and 17% first-generation college students. The SCORE program hopes to raise those numbers, according to the Dolphin Digest and Dr. Ledgerwood.
Psychology is categorized as social science, but Dr. Whitney Wood, Assistant Professor of Psychology is using the grant to research the impact of the SCORE program.
“I think that has the opportunity to positively impact students’ lives, and I’m excited to see where the project is five years from now,” she says.
“The hope is to also hit the benchmarks of more students being retained and going to grad school, then we [Le Moyne] can apply for more NSF funds and keep money coming in to continue the program and the students,” said Ledgerwood.
Current STEM students can be involved in the program despite it being geared towards incoming students, by becoming a Peer Mentor. If that is an interest, contact Dr. Emily Ledgerwood ([email protected]) for more information.