New grant aims to help underserved students succeed in college and careers.
Front Range Community College (FRCC) and Colorado State University (CSU) have secured a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a new program to help students successfully transfer from FRCC to CSU to earn bachelor’s degrees.
The $4.28 million grant will support the new Wolves to Rams (W2R) Scholars program. W2R will support transfer students, helping them to graduate and go on to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The program’s broader goal is to increase participation of low income, first generation, underrepresented students in STEM.
“We are excited to partner with CSU to build a community of STEM students through active participation in workshops, trainings, events, advising, and mentoring,” said Katie Malara, chemistry faculty member, and FRCC’s principal investigator on the NSF grant. “This grant will also enable us to offer financial support to help our students transfer and earn a Bachelor of Science degree.”
The W2R Scholars program parallels the ongoing work of a National Institutes of Health-funded partnership between FRCC and CSU, called Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) and expands opportunities for FRCC transfer students pursuing a STEM degree. For the last several years, B2B has provided research experience and resources for transfer students in STEM disciplines, including a “Becoming a Scientist” course that helps students develop a science identify, leadership skills and career purpose.
“Community college transfer students are a vibrant and diverse part of our community at CSU, and this NSF grant will continue to support that population and set them up for success,” said Paul Laybourn, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and CSU’s principal investigator on the NSF grant. “We welcome and look forward to a continued partnership with Front Range Community College, in which we work to integrate our efforts on behalf of our students.”
Over the next five years, the total NSF funding to support this program will be $4.28 million. Sixty percent of the grant funding will provide scholarships to FRCC students upon their transfer to CSU. Students will be awarded up to $10,000 towards their two years at FRCC and then have the opportunity to continue funding upon their transfer to CSU at up to $10,000 per year for two more years (for a total of $30,000 towards their degree.) The grant will support at least 150 students who are pursuing associate and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, computer sciences and science education.
The W2R project will build a community of scholarship by providing students mentoring, academic coaching, co-curricular programming and opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. This project will implement national best practices that are proven to improve student retention, support transfer students and help them complete their four-year degree.
A research study led by CSU Professor of Psychology Kim Henry will be conducted on the W2R program to generate new knowledge on what works best for supporting underrepresented students in STEM who begin their education at a two-year college. The study aims to identify which practices best enhance students’ success in completing a Bachelor of Science degree at a four-year institution.
This project also has broader goals – to narrow existing educational gaps in Colorado and increase the diversity of students completing STEM degrees. The project’s evidence-based example will provide a model for other collaborations between two-year and four-year colleges in the state.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.
About Colorado State University
Founded in 1870, Colorado State University is among the nation’s leading research universities. CSU, located in Fort Collins, enrolls about 23,768 undergraduates, 3,962 graduate students, and 567 Professional Veterinary Medicine students.