6 Indiana Colleges to Double STEM Degrees Earned by Students of Color

I went to college in Indiana, and although I only lived there for the four years I spent at Earlham College, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Hoosier State.

So because of my (albeit tenuous) connection to the state, I was thrilled to hear that six Indiana colleges are developing an initiative to double the number of students of color graduating with STEM degrees.

Although my alma mater isn’t one of them, Ivy Tech Community College is one of the schools. I’ve written about Ivy Tech before, because of its InsideTrack coaching program, so it’s exciting to hear about a community college that’s engaging with great programs that directly help students stay in school and graduate.

The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, funded by the National Science Foundation, is supporting the endeavor.

Increasing STEM Degrees

Here’s more from Indiana Public Media:

A group of six Indiana colleges will launch an initiative to double the number of students of color graduating with science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

The Indiana STEM Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation will begin in December to increase Indiana’s STEM minority pipeline. The $4.8 million project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Participating schools include Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU Bloomington, Ball State University, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis. Over five years, they hope to double the number of STEM degrees awarded to students of color from 295 during the 2015-16 school year to 590 by the 2020-21 school year.

“It is attainable, you just need to put in the work,” says Pamella Shaw, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at IUPUI. Shaw led a similar 2013 project out of Purdue University.

High School Students to Get Math Support

To do so, the schools will look to future generations. They plan to enroll high school students in college-level classes to prepare them for college.

The project, which includes Ivy Tech Community College, will also  work to transfer students into four-year undergraduate programs.

“Transition them here to IUPUI and other institutions because they have a large number of diverse students,” Shaw says.

The initiative will target a key area that experts say causes students to depart from STEM degrees: mathematics.

“Math, usually, is where we find students struggle the most because they don’t come prepared from high school,” Shaw says. “And math becomes very key when they’re doing chemistry and physics and the other sciences.”

Students will be provided with a structured, online math mentoring program.

Shaw acknowledges that doubling the amount of students of color with STEM degrees to 590 would still leave a lot of work.

Read more at Indiana Public Media.