The University of Kentucky has been awarded a $1.9 million grant to improve retention of students in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. UK is one of 37 research institutions selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to receive an award, from among 170 institutions.
Part of the challenge for educators is that many first-year students arrive on college campuses without adequate preparation for the rigors of college-level science and math, said Professor Vincent Cassone, chair of the UK Department of Biology and STEMCats project director.
"They have no idea what to expect, and I think it comes as a shock to some of them just how much work is actually involved in passing an introductory-level STEM class," Cassone said. "By the time they realize it, they may already be in trouble. It's not that they can't do the work. They just are not mentally and psychologically prepared for the challenges they face at the university level. The STEMCats initiatives are designed to help students get ready to succeed."