STEMCats is a pre-Fall freshmen academic, research and professional-development residential program. This living learning program is intended for first year students who have applied for a STEM major or who are interested in a STEM major plus a small cohort of transfer students from the Bluegrass Community & Technical College. Students arrive a week or so before the official opening of UK in order to attend newly developed programs in math, biology and chemistry called FastTrack and a special orientation program. This early start will help build confidence in a first year student’s academic preparation as they acclimate to the rigors of a STEM major, and will also contribute to a sense of belonging to the UK community.
STEMCats will have graduate and professional students who will serve as mentors while providing support services, coordinating activities and tutoring throughout the year. Students will have early exposure to research and to the endless possibilities of STEM disciplines. There will be bi-weekly “fun science” interactive activities conducted by faculty within the residence hall and many other living learning community events.
STEMCats is supported by the College of Arts & Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Psychology and Statistics), Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physiology, Molecular & Biomedical Pharmacology and the Division of Natural Sciences at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Faculty from these disciplines are excited about participating in freshman laboratory courses and other events. STEMCats will make for a smoother transition for first year and transfer students coming to UK. Additionally, we expect this program to increase retention and improve the success of STEM majors at UK.