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STEM Gems: Who we serve

"STEM Gems provides the basic needs to complete a STEM degree for students from the various backgrounds, thus contributing to the overall diversity in ethnicity, socioeconomic background and, most importantly, in perspective."
Asia Ingram '14

Undergraduate enrollment at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has increased dramatically in recent years. To help ensure that first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority students are part of this success story, the school in 2012 created the STEM Gems program to help retain these students, who traditionally are most at risk of failing to complete an engineering major.

The plan was based on the theory that investing in social networks that have embedded and external resources enhances the success and proliferation of these networks.

The plan consists of four core goals:

  • Identify "at risk" students early and develop their self-efficacy.
  • Enhance coordinated faculty and institution support.
  • Increase peer-to-peer support.
  • Develop learning communities.

The results have been startling. For the Classes of 2016-2018, the average freshman to sophomore year retention rate is 85 percent compared to 60 percent for the Classes of 2010-2014.

"As a minority and first generation college student, I knew very well at the start of my undergraduate career that I had a big challenge ahead of me. But now that I am almost finished, I can honestly say that the STEM GEM program significantly helped me reach and surpass my goals. They gave me all the resources needed to overcome my challenges. The program also introduced me to a world filled with opportunities, and they have been a great contributor to where I stand today in my professional path. Today, I am close to graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Chemical Engineering while I perform extensive lab research in tissue engineering. I aspire to pursue a higher education at graduate school with the vision to become a leading contributor to the nations health care and biomedical innovation." Jenny Quintero '16

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