Facilitating Undergraduate Success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Through Improved Student Competencies

  • Wink, Donald D.J. (PI)
  • Pellegrino, James J.W. (CoPI)
  • Rosenhouse-Dantsker, Avia (CoPI)
  • Aratyn, Henrik H. (CoPI)

Project Details


This project will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over its five-year duration, the project will fund both two-year and four-year scholarships to 35 students who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. The project will provide Scholars with access to new activities including: 1) A three-day internship immersion workshop; 2) Student Success workshops through University's Academic Center for Excellence; and 3) A Professional Presence course taught at the College of Business. Peer Success Coaches from chemistry and biochemistry programs will provide Scholars with mentoring that can help them tackle both professional and personal challenges. The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public, urban, land-grant institution and a federally-designated Hispanic-serving institution, so the results from this work will have wide applicability in understanding the support of STEM students. As part of the broader impacts, the project will serve as a pilot to evaluate proposed activities and their impact on developing undergraduate competencies and academic success in a Research 1 Institution. The project will also contribute to the science education community by evaluating effective strategies for supporting low-income talented students at different stages of their undergraduate careers at Research 1 Institutions.

The overall goal of this project is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. The specific aim of the project is to evaluate if activities aimed at growing intra- and interpersonal competencies can help support and retain undergraduate students within STEM programs of study. The project aims to determine if an internship immersion workshop, a student-success workshop series, and a professional presence course can help strengthen self-efficacy and collaboration, thus improving students' academic outcomes. It is predicted that the Scholars who complete the curricular and co-curricular activities will have higher grade point averages in their majors, as well as higher rates of degree completion and a shorter time-to-degree than their peers. An independent evaluator will study project documentation and internal assessment to address if the project has achieved benchmarked process activities and if the project has used resources and expertise to support the Scholars as STEM majors. Results from this project will be disseminated through a dedicated webpage, publications in peer-reviewed articles, and presentations at symposia, workshops, and seminars. This project is funded by NSF's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, which seeks to increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers, and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation, and academic/career pathways of low-income students.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/24


  • National Science Foundation: $1,024,205.00


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