Bridge to Graduate Study in Interdisciplinary Sciences
The project is strategically awarding S-STEM scholarships to bridge the gap at a pivotal point in postsecondary education: the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies. The intent is three-fold: the first is to retain undergraduates to baccalaureate degree completion by awarding approximately 20 scholarships each year to academically talented, financially needy juniors and seniors in undergraduate feeder disciplines (including Computer Science, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Biological and Geological sciences). The second is to use graduate scholarships to recruit outstanding students into three university-wide interdisciplinary graduate programs (Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Environmental Science, and Neuroscience) by awarding approximately 5 graduate scholarships to students who demonstrate potential for success in graduate school. Undergraduate S-STEM Scholars are given priority for support. The third objective is to increase diversity at the undergraduate and graduate levels by awarding Bridge scholarship funds to students who meet diversity criteria.
Bridge Scholars participate in integrating activities including a seminar series, having a research faculty mentor, and professional development activities. The overall long-term outcome is an increase in the number, quality, and diversity of students who complete undergraduate STEM degrees and graduate degrees in interdisciplinary STEM programs at the university.
Intellectual Merit: Knowledge across disciplines is advanced by enabling students to complete baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields and by recruiting these and other students into interdisciplinary graduate programs. Three team members are successfully managing a current NSF S-STEM project; the other three direct the interdisciplinary graduate programs.
Broader Impacts: Discovery and understanding are advanced through teaching, student training, and research in the three interdisciplinary graduate programs. A key objective is to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields at the undergraduate and graduate levels.