GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 187-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


HARRISON, J. Bruce J., BARHAM, Titia and TARTIS, Michaelann, Earth and Environmental Science Dept, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801,

Many issues influence the success of a student making the transition from a two year to a four year institution especially in the science and engineering fields. While some of these issues are non-academic, such as housing, families and jobs, others reflect a lack of understanding of the financial and academic requirements of the four year institutions. Common issues identified include students being unable to transfer in many of their two year institution credits, having insufficient financial aid to complete the courses required for a four year degree, lack of knowledge of potential careers associated with different degrees especially in STEM related areas, and difficulties integrating into the four year university environment. In a program involving two four year and four two year institutions, different strategies were applied to address some of these issues. Identifying potential transfer students as early as possible gave more opportunities, to provide more counselling on financial aid, guide their choice of classes, and allow them opportunities to visit four year institutions. Interest in STEM fields was encouraged by providing stipends for belonging to a STEM club which required students to attend scientific seminars, take STEM specific courses and to visit the four year institutions. It also provided opportunities to obtain internships at a nearby national lab. Once students arrived at the four year institution, they were required to sign up for a Living Learning Community class, a research based class with a high instructor to student ratio. The students were required to work in groups and this helped the integration process. However, the most important factor in success of the program work was the relationships between the STEM coordinators at the two year institutions and the transfer coordinators at the four year institutions.