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Hornet Science Scholars Program

(NSF DUE 1644273; 5 year project) 

The Hornet Science Scholars program will provide low-income, high achieving transfer students with novel extracurricular academic and social support, easing their transition to the university and assisting their advancement into STEM focused research, internship, and employment opportunities. Facilitating this transition will directly improve retention and progression to degree and will improve the 2-year graduation rate for low income, high achieving students.

The Transfer Ready Initiative, an integral part of the advising support plan, will improve advising and communication practices between local community colleges and Sacramento State, resulting in enhanced transfer preparation for all students.

Project objectives include implementing and testing the following education interventions:

* Block scheduling of courses, allowing Scholars to "fast track" through upper division requirements with full schedules of major-required STEM courses, taken together and connected to proven, peer-facilitated support strategies. Scholars will complete 30 units of meaningful course work in the first year, accelerating progression to degree.

* Proven academic support strategies to ensure immediate upper division success and mediate "transfer shock," specifically:

1) Peer-Assisted Learning associated with major courses,2) Mentorship by Commit to Study (C2S) Ambassadors to help students adjust to their new academic environment, and 3)a one-unit Transfer Seminar (NSM 100A and NSM 100B), which will engage Scholars in reflective work on academic strategies, and will include a series of speakers to engage and connect them with the local STEM workforce.

* Engagement with faculty mentors to prepare Scholars for immediate entry into STEM-related summer opportunities. Faculty advisors will meet frequently with Scholars and facilitate their engagement with meaningful research experiences and/or employment during the first summer post-transfer. Multiple on-campus programs provide stipends for undergraduate research or employment in STEM education programs. Paid internships at businesses and government agencies are widely available via the California Intern Network, operated on the Sacramento State campus.

* Collaborative work among community college and university faculty advisors to improve transfer readiness long term. The Transfer Ready Initiative will engage faculty and staff members from multiple campuses in collaborative work that will promote enhanced transfer student success. Peer-based Student Transfer Ambassadors will assist in this cause. 

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

This project will focus on majors in Biological Sciences and Chemistry, and only students enrolled full time in courses leading to these degrees will qualify for this award. To be eligible, community college students pursuing these majors must have at least a 3.3 GPA** across all STEM courses and a 3.3 GPA** overall, and must be eligible for the Pell grant. In addition, applicants must have completed or have in progress all lower-division science and math pre-requisite courses for their intended major.

** Consideration will be giving to students who have overcome significant barriers during their educational journey, but do not meet the 3.3 GPA requirement.  All applicants, with no exceptions, must be eligible to receive the Pell grant.

Finally, they must have been accepted to Sacramento State for the fall semester in which they intend to become Science Scholars, and must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or aliens admitted as refugees or lawfully admitted (per sec. 101(a) and 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).

Students meeting these criteria will submit a personal statement addressing their path to college and their future career goals, a letter from a faculty member who can attest to their academic promise, and all transcripts.

The application can be found under Institutional Scholarships at: http://www.csus.edu/faid/types_of_aid/scholarships (search for Hornet Science Scholars).

Promising students will be selected for an interview (In person or via Skype for those out of area), where they will be asked questions related to their academic experience and goals for the future.  

Number/amount of scholarships:

Scholarships in the amount of $9,000 ($4,500/semester for their first two semesters) will be awarded to 16 students per cohort, beginning with those transferring to Sac State in Fall 2017, and repeating each fall for four years.  Students must maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA for them to receive the second semester of scholarship support.