School of Science STEM Research Institute

School of Science STEM Research Institute
Institution
State
Florida
Academic Level
Associate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel
Program Focus
STEM,
Undergraduate Research

Overview

The School of Science STEM Research Institute provides Hispanic and other underrepresented STEM students high-quality, early research experiences to help them acquire knowledge and skills important to their academic success and competitiveness in the STEM workforce of the 21st century. The Institute seeks to increase persistence in STEM and attainment of STEM degrees among underrepresented students.

Program Description

Established in 2012, the Institute began as a pilot of undergraduate research. Aware that activities promoting deeper exposure to STEM have marked impacts on student success and retention, the Institute aimed to bring undergraduate research to the primarily Hispanic population of students at Miami Dade College (MDC).

The School of Science STEM Research Institute requires students to complete 240 hours of research, attend professional skills workshops, and provide various deliverables. Participants typically engage in 10 to 12 weeks of paid, high-level, and quality research experiences with faculty mentors and peers in interdisciplinary teams during the summer or as part of a year-round project. Program participants may choose to receive mentorship from MDC faculty or faculty at one of MDC’s partner research I universities to carry out individual research projects.

Outcome

  • Increased fall-to-fall persistence: In the past three years, 94% of program participants have persisted fall-to-fall compared to 78% of non-participant STEM students.
  • Increased 3-year graduation: In the past three years, 68% of participants graduated within 3 years compared to only 28% of non-participant STEM majors and 22% of non-STEM students at MDC. As of 2019, participants took an average of 2.8 years to graduate with an associate degree compared to 3.1 years for non-participant STEM students.
  • Increased GPA: As of 2019, students accomplished an average, 3.62 GPA compared to the average 3.22 GPA of non-participant STEM students.