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Bridges for SUCCESS (Salisbury University's Connections to Careers for Every STEM Student)

GRANTING AGENCY:  National Science Foundation

PROGRAM NAME:  STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP)

AWARD AMOUNT:  $996,303

GRANT PERIOD:  June 1, 2010 – May 31, 2015

PRINICIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Dr. Karen Olmstead and Dr. Tom Jones

Press Release

Bibliography of STEM Education-Related Research

OBJECTIVES:  To increase the total number of graduates in selected STEM disciplines by 75% within five years by increasing the number of chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, and new earth science graduates. 


(1)  Science Nights at Salisbury University:    This science recruiting program will be offered each year, free-of-charge to any students in grades 11-12 from counties surrounding SU (Somerset, Wicomico, Dorchester, and Worcester) who have a minimum adjusted GPA of 2.5 in math and science courses and will consist of eight evening meetings over the year on SU’s campus.  Each meeting will highlight one of the five STEM disciplines in SU’s Henson School of Science & Technology. The program will run on weeknights from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  By offering the program as a nightly series, we hope to increase the likelihood that parents will be able to participate with their children, since evening meetings during the week will create less competition with other school or family activities. (Coordinator: Dr. Brent Zaprowski -

For more information, see: Science Nights @SU


(2)  Science Camp@SU:  Will be a one-week summer program held on SU’s campus for high school students (rising juniors or seniors) who are considering a science-related field as a possible major and career. We expect to recruit between 10 and 20 students each year.  For one-week each summer, students explore the world of science through engaging hands-on activities, laboratory experiments, informative workshops, team challenges, and seminars with professional scientists.  The camp will use problem-based and object-based learning that purposefully situates scientific inquiry and the application of mathematics and technology in the context of engineering design and problem solving. Beyond the school environment, scientific inquiry and technological design do not happen independently of each other and where solutions to real-world problems are tackled. Thus, the camp will seek to build a synergistic learning bridge and show how the sciences are truly linked in any STEM career and to society. (Coordinator: Dr. Matthew Bailey -

For more information, see: Science Camp@SU)


(3)  STEM Curriculum Coordination:  Establishes curriculum coordinating teams for computer science, physics, and earth science with each team composed of faculty from SU, Chesapeake College, and Wor-Wic Community College.  These inter-institutional teams will select the appropriate courses within their discipline and will work to better align the curricula for those introductory and supporting courses.  They will also identify, agree to, and propose the discipline standards to be met by these courses to their respective departments for consideration. (Coordinator: Dr. Tom Jones -


(4)  STEM as Part of SU’s Transfer-Student Transition Program:  Salisbury University plans to launch a collaborative partnership with one or more of our regional community colleges that will support the transition of community college students to baccalaureate programs on our campus.  Through this grant we will recruit and support students who have aspirations of pursuing a career in a STEM discipline, especially students in under-represented groups. We will increase the relative level of support to these students who are enrolled in their first math and science courses through supplemental instruction and tutoring services, as well as an increased level of individualized academic advisement.  Additionally, these transition students will be eligible for competitive summer research fellowships to better connect them to their prospective disciplinary home and the engaged learning in a research environment. (Coordinator: Dr. Tom Jones -


(5)   SUCCESS Through Improved Retention and Graduation Rates

(a)  Math Skills Development:  The ALEKS placement program was piloted at SU in Fall 2008. New students completed the assessment, and their performance in a variety of math and science courses was monitored. In spring 2009, some students were also offered the option of completing computer-based learning modules in mathematics while enrolled in courses for which they needed the mathematics content.  The learning modules are available through ALEKS software and are well integrated with the results of the placement testing.  However, the cost of these modules is a barrier to offering them to all SU students who need them.  Through this grant we will be able to support student use of these learning modules and provide support for faculty in developing the integration of ALEKS modules into existing courses. (Coordinator: Dr. Don Spickler -


(b)  Summer Research for First- and Second-Year Students:   Mirroring our existing Guerrieri Undergraduate Research Program, this grant activity will allow us to support ten additional student researchers, but different than the Guerrieri awards, the awards from this grant will specifically target students in their first- or second-year of college. In this ‘early’ research program, we will replicate aspects of the Guerrieri Summer Research Program that are effective and appropriate to first- or second-year students, and will also include opportunities for students studying at regional community colleges. The awards may also include financial assistance for on-campus room and board for students who do not live near campus. In addition, the faculty mentor would be provided a budget for the supplies needed for the research project. (Coordinator: Dr. Seth Friese -

For more information, see: STEM Summer Research Opportunities


(c)  STEM Living-Learning Communities:  In fall 2009, SU initiated a STEM Living-Learning Community in its residence halls in which first-year science and math majors live together on the floor of a residence hall, participate in two related courses (one ‘anchor’ science course and one liberal arts course toward the general education requirements), and engage in various co-curricular activities together.  Demand for this experience was tremendous in just the first year of the program, with the STEM LLC floor full.  A second STEM LLC will be funded by this grant.  Specifically, we will offer an NSF-supported STEM LLC with anchor science courses that alternative among majors to build enrollment in each (e.g.  Year 1 - Calculus 201, in Year 2 - Chemistry 121, in Year 3- Physics 121, etc.).  (Coordinator: Dr. Mike Bardzell -

For more information, see:


(d)  The Center for Applied Math and Science (CAMS):  In 1993, the SU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science established a “Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences” (CAMS).  The purposes of CAMS included: (1) providing students with opportunities to practice the mathematical sciences on real, not just realistic, problems; (2) providing faculty with opportunities to apply principles of their fields outside the classroom; (3) aiding businesses, industries, and research and management organizations in the study of long-range problems; and (4) enrolling those institutions, in an intimate and effective way, in the preparation of tomorrow's workforce.  Through this grant we will re-charter the CAMS concept changing its name slightly to the “Center for Applied Math and Science” to open this opportunity to more diverse STEM majors.  We will build on the groundwork and success of the original Center while enhancing the operation through multidisciplinary applications. (Coordinator: Dr. Kathleen Shannon

For more information, see: CAMS


(e)   SUCCESS Through Better Marketing of STEM Majors and related opportunities at Salisbury University:  We will conduct a marketing campaign to promote careers in STEM disciplines including secondary math and science teaching. Marketing activities will include development and distribution to these schools of posters, brochures, and technologically interesting and useful “give-away” items highlighting STEM disciplines and careers.  We will run STEM career advertisements in our regional high school newspapers/newsletters.  (Coordinator: Ms. Kristen Paul

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