Dr. McLean co-PI on NSF Grant

An NSF S-STEM grant with Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Jeff McLean as co-PI, was recently funded. Congratulations, Jeff!

Details of the grant follow:

The Math And Technology Engagement for Commuter Students (MATECS) program at St. Joseph's College will address national need for a high quality STEM workforce and increased success of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing degrees in math and computing. The program will develop and assess practical plans to mentor, retain, and graduate commuter students, a population that now constitutes a significant number of post-secondary students. Attaining high levels of academic and social engagement is broadly recognized as a challenge for commuter students that can have negative consequences on academic achievement and persistence to degree completion. The MATECS program will address this challenge by implementing mentoring and community building activities and investigating the effects of these activities on retention and graduation of commuter students. Aspects of the project deemed effective and sustainable may then be adopted by other institutions with confidence.

The MATECS program will achieve three main goals: 1) recruit and enroll two cohorts of 15 academically talented students with demonstrated financial need; 2) attain 93% first year retention and 86% four-year graduation rate with those graduating placed in professional positions or graduate programs; and 3) perform a research study to determine the effectiveness of a cohort model, faculty mentoring, and industry mentoring on the engagement of commuter students and career awareness in the math and computing disciplines. The project will involve a new faculty mentoring design, the creation of a new industry mentoring network specific to math and computing, curricular modifications to foster a cohort structure, and the design of interdisciplinary activities aimed at introducing students to potential careers and working collaboratively on projects. Through the use of validated survey instruments and associated interviews, the research study will determine the relative effectiveness of each project activity on social and academic engagement and career decision self-efficacy of commuter students in math and computing.