What is STEM Scholars?
The University of New Orleans (UNO) STEM Scholars Program is a 5-day intensive transition or "boot" camp for incoming freshmen students. We will offer one biology camp geared towards Biology I and three math camps (Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus) aimed at all science, engineering, and pre-engineering majors. The Scholars will get a jump start on required course content, attend lectures from faculty who teach first-year courses, develop critical skills necessary for academic success (e.g., note taking, time management, testing), have a safe space to fail without being graded, and develop study groups and a sense of community with other students who will be sitting beside them in Fall classes. Scholars will also learn about careers from professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields and be guided by peer mentors throughout the camp experience. Check out our Facebook page here.
In addition, this year for the first time, we are providing each Camp student with a peer mentor for their first year. Peer mentors will meet with each camp student to check on his/her progress and suggest ways the students can cope with any challenges they encounter.
Learn more here.
Why Are We Doing This?
The United States is not producing enough science and engineering graduates to meet future needs. More than half of all STEM majors drop out of these fields before graduation. The transition from high school to college is more difficult than many students anticipate – students have to find new friends and support systems, manage their time, and learn how to study at a faster and more demanding pace than they have experienced before. If they have to learn these skills through trial-and-error, they risk poor grades, disillusionment, and dropping out.
We want to provide our students with the skills they need to succeed! We launched this program in 2015 to give STEM freshmen that extra push they need to do well academically, feel comfortable in their new college life, and establish relationships that will carry through their time at UNO. We modeled our STEM Scholars Program after other intensive transition camps for incoming freshmen which have over 10 years of experience at 30 universities. These programs have a proven track record of improving students' scores in their Fall courses and in increasing their graduation rates in 4 years! All camp students had higher retention (ranging on 4-12% higher, depending upon the cohort year) after one semester than all freshman and all STEM freshman (who didn't take the camp) at UNO.
What Will Your Support Do?
In 2014, UNO received a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support curriculum reform and innovation in science and engineering instruction. While some of these funds are being used to finance the instructional costs for the STEM Scholars Program, it cannot cover the full costs for the camp. We have worked hard to keep registration costs for our Scholars as low as possible, to ensure all students who wish to get a jump start on their studies can do so. Registration fees for students are just $300 - this includes lodging, all meals, materials, and the first-year textbook for either the biology or math track. The good news? That freshmen textbook and online access for it would cost students almost that amount so they are essentially attending camp for free!!
But, we still need your help to bring this program to our students. Your dollars will go to help make sure every STEM freshman has the opportunity to participate in this camp. Many of our students work hard to pay tuition, housing, and everyday expenses. If we charged students the actual cost to attend ($550), we risk many students who really need the help being unable to afford to participate. Your support will help bridge the gap and make this program accessible to all. Plus, your donation is tax deductible.
- Anita Borg level $10: Feeding the body fuels the brain! Your gift will provide 1 meal for a STEM Scholar. Donors at this level will receive emails and project updates so you can see how you’ve helped us make a difference.
- Mae Jamison level $25: Making new friends and study-mates is key to student success! Your gift will feed 1 STEM Scholar for a full day. In addition to regular meals, we will host several evening events to bring our students together for dinner and socializing. Along with lower level perks, donors at this level will receive a digital image of our 2015 STEM Scholar campers.
- Neil Armstrong level $100: STEM Scholars will have the full college experience! Your gift provides lodging for 2 STEM Scholars for the full week of camp. Students will live at Pontchartrain Hall, our on-campus dorms, with their STEM Scholar colleagues. In addition to lower level perks, donors at this level get a first-hand look at our Scholars with access to pictures and videos of the full camp experience.
- Charles Darwin level $250: Imagine making a difference in one student’s academic success? Your gift will pay for 1 STEM Scholar’s camp experience for the week. Along with lower level perks, donors at this level will be acknowledged on the binders we are providing to our Scholars and will receive a commemorative STEM Scholars Pen.
- Albert Einstein level $1000: Now imagine doing the same for a cohort of students? Your gift will support the cost of attendance for 4 students for the camp. In addition to getting all of the other perks, donors at this level will have the opportunity to put their logo on STEM Scholars t-shirts, will receive one of these t-shirts, and will be invited to the end-of-camp lunch.
Please Share This Message:
If there is a friend, colleague, or family member you think would benefit from learning more about the UNO STEM Scholars Program, please share this project with them. UNO is grateful for the generous support of donors committed to improving education in the STEM fields and helping students succeed.
Thank you for your support!
Gifts in support of the University of New Orleans are accepted and managed by the University of New Orleans Foundation, an affiliated 501 (c) (3) organization, tax ID number 72-1051326. No goods or services were provided in exchange for this donation.