Serving Community College Students: Student Preparation, Development and Growth through the REU Experience

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Christopher S Kim1, Jan Osborn1 and Marianne Smith2, (1)Chapman University, Orange, CA, United States, (2)Citrus College, Glendora, CA, United States
Effectively recruiting and engaging community college students in STEM research experiences is an increasingly important goal of the NSF but has not historically been the primary focus of most NSF-REU Site programs. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Earth and Environmental Sciences (SURFEES) program at Chapman University, a primarily undergraduate institution in Southern California, is the site of the first NSF-REU program in the NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences that selects participants exclusively from local partnering community colleges. Building on and now running parallel with a successful internally-funded summer research program already in place and available only to Chapman undergraduates, the SURFEES program incorporates specific mentor and participant pre-experience training, pre-, mid-, and post-assessment instruments, and programming targeted to the earth and environmental sciences as well as to community college students. Perhaps most importantly, the application, selection and pairing of student participants with faculty mentors was conducted with specific goals of identifying those applicants with the greatest potential for a transformative experience while also meeting self-defined targets of under-represented minority, female, and low-income participants. Initial assessment results of the first participant cohort from summer 2014 and lessons learned for creating/adapting an NSF-REU site to involve community college students will be discussed.