PI: Dr. Jenny McNulty, University of Montana College of Humanities and Sciences

The Success in Science (SIS) is a week-long intensive residential program that focuses on academic skills, builds social connections of science students, provides an overview of campus resources and allows students the opportunity to get acquainted with campus life before the start of the semester. The SIS program was developed to improve the transition and retention of first year STEM students at the University of Montana. The program was piloted in 2017 and consisted of 12 first year STEM students. The cost of the program was $650 per person. While all STEM students were invited to participate, the group consisted of a disproportional number of out of state students (75%). Additionally, no Native American students participated and relatively few of the students determined at-risk participated.

This proposal is to provide student support for the SIS program targeted at Montanans, under-represented groups in STEM and the most at-risk students. Research has shown that bridge programs, mentoring relationships, and a sense of community play important roles in attracting and retaining students in STEM fields. The SIS program is as an academic preparation course that also provides a network of mentors and sense of community by introducing incoming freshman to peers, administrators, faculty, advisors, and staff in a small environment before the start of the semester. By awarding student support for the SIS program to these target groups, we anticipate attracting a more diverse group of students and serving more Montanans.