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Success Scholars Program

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About the Program

Success Scholars seeks to support students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, through scholarships and purposeful faculty and peer relationships formed to foster academic learning and trust, ultimately leading to improved achievement, retention and graduation rates. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible.  The comprehensive plan includes a summer orientation program, a STEM-focused first-year seminar, faculty and peer mentoring in biology and mathematical sciences courses, learning communities that continue through a scholar’s tenure, research experiences, and research and career seminars. Activities will join scholars from both majors, to develop their learning community and to broaden their perspectives in the STEM disciplines. The Success Scholars program will enhance ECSU’s signature liberal arts education by developing skill sets valued by STEM employers, including critical thinking, communication, and problem solving to bring innovation to their workplace (AAC&U, 2013).

AAC&U. (2013). It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success: Overview and Key Findings.

Integrated Math/Biology Learning Community

From our Success Scholars first days on campus they will join a learning community of students and faculty interested in biology and mathematical sciences. Scholars will meet and begin to get to know each other at the summer orientation. Scholars will be placed in the same first year seminar with a STEM focus. They will move through their biology and mathematical sciences courses as a cohort with faculty and peer mentors to support them. They will have opportunities for faculty supported research and access to research and career seminars. Together they culminate their years at Eastern with a senior seminar which includes the capstone for biology and mathematical sciences majors.

Summer Orientation

In addition to the Warrior Weekend two-day summer orientation for all students at ECSU, Success Scholars will have two additional days with their learning community to begin building faculty-scholar and scholar-scholar relationships. Local STEM industry representatives will present seminars to introduce potential career trajectories for biology and mathematical sciences majors.

STEM-Focused First Year Seminar

All incoming Success Scholars will be placed in the same section of Eastern’s first-year introduction course along with other students. This section will be taught by the Success Scholars faculty with peer mentors. The course will cover diverse fields encompassed by biology and mathematical sciences while introducing students to their broad liberal arts education. The context will be linked to real world applications, show relevance to the students’ academic and professional lives, and connect to their personal interests.  

Faculty-Mentored Research

Success Scholars will be required to develop a research project with a faculty research mentor and present their results in oral or poster formats at the annual Eastern CREATE conference, or other regional STEM-related conferences. Faculty-mentored research can take place either during the academic year as an independent study course or during the summer as a paid position. Stipends for research are available through the Biology and Mathematical Sciences Departments or from outside sponsors. External research opportunities are also available from other academic institutions, governmental/state Agencies or nonprofit groups.

Peer-Mentor Learning

Success Scholars will have the benefit of advanced level students serving as peer mentors in biology and mathematical sciences. Peer mentors will be selected by faculty mentors and receive formal training in teaching and mentoring. Peer mentors will hold structured study sessions incorporated as part of the course’s regular lab time.

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National Science Foundation


This material is based upon Eastern's grant that is supported by the National Science Foundation, Grant # 2030582.

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