EXCEL (a former National Science Foundation STEP Program) has a goal to increase the total number of US citizens obtaining BS Degrees in STEM. Running since 2006, EXCEL has increased the retention to graduation of STEM students participating in the program by 40% over non-participants. Recruiting 200 incoming freshmen each year, EXCEL connects students, faculty, and disciplines, through a Learning Community which ultimately leads to increased success of STEM students. The program accomplishes this goal by enhancing the EXCEL students’ STEM experiences during the first two years of college through improving student learning in math and science courses and engaging them in research and industrial experiences. Visit https://excel.ucf.edu/ to learn more.
Girls EXCELling in Math and Science (GEMS) is a peer-to-peer women’s mentoring program designed for EXCEL female freshmen. In addition to the EXCEL experiences, activities include peer mentee groups, an upper-division female mentor to 4-5 mentees, networking events featuring successful female faculty and industry professionals, 2 large social events, and multiple mentee group meetings and socials. Running since 2010, GEMS has decreased the gender retention gap in EXCEL by 60% while increasing the retention for both groups. Visit http://gems.excel.ucf.edu/ to learn more.
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Mentoring at UCF is an industry professional-to-student mentoring program designed for women. UCF recruits sophomore to junior STEM female students to participate in a six month mentoring program. In conjunction with industry partners, female STEM professionals are recruited to serve as mentors. Along with the individual experience of each mentoring pair, mentors and mentees participate in an orientation, mentoring training, mid-term energizer, and an end-of-program celebration. Running since 2011, WISE Mentoring @ UCF has successfully paired 80 students and professionals for mentoring. Visit http://gems.excel.ucf.edu/?wise to learn more about how you can be involved.
COMPASS (Convincing Outstanding Math-Potential Admits to Succeed in STEM) (a National Science Foundation STEP Type 1B Program) is for students who are unsure of which major or career to pursue in college but want a head start exploring career options, including those in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Students who enjoy math or science and are interested in exploring STEM careers through hands-on learning experiences are a perfect fit. Whether students are undeclared, have declared a major they are unsure about, or have recently declared a STEM major and are looking for guidance, COMPASS can assist. Recruiting 400 students each year, COMPASS connects students, faculty, and disciplines, through a Learning Community which ultimately leads to increased success of STEM students. Visit http://compass.ucf.edu/ to learn more.
PRIME STEM is a federally funded Student Support Services (SSS) TRiO program. The program provides academic support services and resources for scholars who are first generation, low-income, and/or who have a documented disability and are pursuing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major. The type of services offered includes peer mentoring, peer tutoring, advice and assistance with course selection, assistance with financial aid programs and financial aid applications and education and counseling to improve financial and economic literacy. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of our scholars. PRIME STEM has served a total of 180 students. The most recent cohort’s retention rate was 92% (166/180). This is 22.2% higher than the overall STEM retention rate (69.8%), and 4.9% higher than the University’s overall SFFT Freshmen retention rate (87.1%). Scholars have been admitted to graduate, medical and/or pharmacy school; have earned paid internships; have received external scholarships; and have studied abroad. Visit http://prime.sdes.ucf.edu/ to learn more.
LEARN™ (a National Science Foundation TUES program) was established in 2011, creating a small research community for 28 first-year STEM students. The program is run by the UCF Office of Undergraduate Research in collaboration with Housing and Residence Life. LEARN is the only formal first-year hands-on research experience opportunity on campus. The benefits of this living-learning community include: student and faculty mentors, 12-week research apprenticeships, specialized courses in students’ resident halls, personalized academic advising, and scholarships. Student participants have higher GPAs and retention rates compared to matched non-participants. LEARN graduates have continued into research programs including, but not limited to: Stanford, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Berkeley. Visit www.our.ucf.edu/learn/ to learn more about the program.
Career Advancement Mentoring Program for Young Entrepreneurs and Scholars (CAMP-YES) CAMP-YES was funded with a NSF S-STEM grant in 2014. CAMP-YES is a program that prepares academically talented, financially needy STEM students to enter the workforce or graduate school or become an entrepreneur. Eligible juniors in STEM majors are placed in a Research Path, Internship Path, or the newest pathway, Entrepreneurship Path, according to their career interests under the guidance of faculty mentors, industry mentors, or entrepreneurship coaches respectively. CAMP-YES also offers a wide range of activities through the program and in partnership with other colleges and units: support services (academic advising, internship advisor); activities to create a professional learning community (socials, distinguished speaker series, symposium); and workshops and activities to help students with the logistics of applying to graduate school, job preparation, or launching a venture. Visit https://campyes.cecs.ucf.edu/ to learn more about the program.