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With five years of funding from the National Science Foundation's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, John Carroll University (JCU) will provide scholarships to 32 students with demonstrated financial need and academic promise. The scholarships will be awarded to first-year and transfer students who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in STEM in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics. The Scholars in the program will receive academic support that includes a STEM-specific orientation, a summer bridge program, cohort advising, and curricula introducing scientific thinking and research.

The project goals are to improve one-year retention and four-year graduation rates, and to train and graduate scholars who will meet local, regional, and national demands for a STEM-educated workforce. This project will provide evidence-based academic and student support services designed to support the transition and success of JCU transfer student cohorts. These services include a STEM living-learning community (LLC), peer-led team learning, career development, summer research fellowships, and travel to scientific meetings. This project will contribute to education research by investigating the role of reflection (i.e., conscientious evaluation of new knowledge or experiences) in the development of student-scientists, and the influence of STEM LLCs on student persistence and sense of well-being. The ongoing process of reflection is critical for academic success, social well-being, and vocational self-efficacy. However, the importance of reflection as a tool for success in STEM disciplines is unknown. This project will assess reflection as a tool to increase retention and performance in STEM experimentally, by monitoring performance indicators for S-STEM Scholars compared to the pool of S-STEM-eligible students who were not selected for a scholarship and therefore did not participate in the program's reflection activities. Finally, this project will help provide S-STEM students the opportunity to be successful in high-demand STEM disciplines.