Early engagement of STEM freshmen along with residential education will result in the following learning goals and outcomes.

  1. Retention:  Academic Success, Career Alternatives, Social Engagement and Early Exposure to Research
  • Creating lasting bonds with peers, faculty and staff so that students develop social, academic and research networks and well-being.
  • Develop effective study habits to deftly and successfully make progress toward degree.
  • Streamline their transition to the college-level academic rigor and expectations through preparatory coursework (FastTrack) in math, biology, chemistry and pre-sophomore preparatory course work in physics.
  • Special Orientation program that provides activities to help students acclimatize to college academic rigor and social life.
  • Improve retention and achievements via fostering a supportive learning community.
  • Several graduate and professional students will serve as mentors providing support services, coordination of activities and tutoring.
  • Twenty graduates from the first year program will be selected to live in the residential hall and mentor the incoming freshmen.
  • Specially-trained tutors in Chemistry, Math and Biology will hold tutoring sessions in the hall.
  1. Alternative STEM Careers:  Increase student awareness and appreciation for alternate STEM careers and educational paths
  • First semester course, Freshmen Research and Career course will give early exposure to the fascinations and endless possibilities of STEM disciplines, modern trends and applications, the variety and diversifying STEM careers available, hands-on experiences, and interactions with successful in STEM disciplines hold potential to boost student persistence via evoking enthusiasm and facilitating the quest for a student’s ‘correct fit.’
  1. Research: Early Exposure to Research
  • Second semester course, Freshman Laboratory Course, will sustain their interest in the sciences and facilitate higher achievements in learning through early introduction to authentic research.
  • Bi-Weekly “fun science” interactive activities will be conducted by faculty within the residence hall on casual Sunday evenings.
  • Bi-Weekly non-academic events similar to Wired’s coffee chats will also be arranged where a variety of people of interest from UK, Lexington & Kentucky are invited to socialize with students in a casual discussion format.
  1. Diversity of STEM students
  • Recruit a diverse cohort of STEM students with 20% representation of STEM minorities and a 50% representation of women
  • Several students from this first group will be chosen to be a peer mentor the second year.
  • The Student Support Program at UK and other such programs will be asked to work closely with this group of students.
  1. Faculty Development
  • Augment the enthusiasm and professional development of STEM faculty via an annual STEM-focused forum/retreat
  • Rigorously assess, continually improve, and disseminate successful components of the program to other STEM departments with UK, BCTC and nation-wide.


Click here to View or Download: STEMCats Program Poster

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