Science Educational Enhancement Services (SEES)

State
California
Academic Level
Baccalaureate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel
Program Focus
STEM

Overview

Science Educational Enhancement Services (SEES) creates a supportive community that provides opportunities for academic support, career networking, and community outreach through advising, mentoring, academic excellence workshops, and study and computer facilities. Over 82% of students served are Latino.

Program Description

The purpose of the Science Educational Enhancement Services (SEES) program is to increase the retention and graduation rates for Latino, African American, and Native American students pursuing degrees in the sciences and mathematics.

SEES maintains a support structure comprised of various components, each of which addresses a barrier to success in college. Our practices include:

  • establishing a community for our students
  • professional development programs
  • peer-mentoring program
  • academic support workshops & tutoring
  • financial support opportunities, such as fellowships and scholarships
  • STEM-specific summer orientation for incoming freshmen

Outcome

The success of SEES can be attributed to its commitment to Content, Community, and Communication - the "3 C's". SEES students who start as freshman have a retention rate 15% higher than under-represented students not in SEES, and have a similarly improved graduation rate.

Students who participate in the Academic Excellence Workshops - patterned after the University of California, Berkeley's Treisman model of merging rather than separating academic and social lives - perform at a higher level in introductory math, physics and chemistry classes:

  • Almost 50% earn grades of A or B in courses for which the average GPA for all students is about 2.15.
  • The SEES program graduates about 35 students/year, with about 20% going on to graduate or professional schools.

From 1992 to 2013, SEES graduated more than 500 students who have gone on to earn 32 MDs, 7 DDSs, 20 PhDs and 61 MSs, as well as becoming credentialed K-12 and community college teachers.

Since 2013, the SEES program has propelled 101 students to PhD, MS, Professional and Credential schools. Combining the impact of the program’s best practices on graduation rates and persistence rates, this demonstrates that the programmatic structure of the SEES program has had an enormously positive effect on Latino student success over a 30-year span.