Intensive Training Academy During Winter Breaks (Winternships) at a Two-Year Hispanic Serving Institution to Prepare STEM Students for Summer Internships

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
J Carl Farmer, College of the Desert, Science, Palm Desert, CA, United States, Alec M Sim, Irvine Valley College, Physics, Mission Viejo, CA, United States and Timothy D Usher, California State University San Bernardino, Physics, San Bernardino, CA, United States
College of the Desert, in partnership with California State University San Bernardino, both Hispanic serving institutions, with the support of a 3-year grant through the NASA Curriculum Improvements Partnership Award for the Integration of Research (CIPAIR) has provided training for community college students, especially those from underrepresented groups, to better prepare them for summer internships opportunities at four-year schools and national laboratories. The Winternships provided an enhanced alternative learning environment for students pursuing degrees in the STEM fields through faculty and peer mentoring in guided undergraduate research activities. All activities associated with undergraduate research were covered including literature searches, hands-on laboratory and field research, collection and analysis of data, culminating in oral and written presentations at College of the Desert and regional student conferences. In addition, students received assistance in searching for summer internships in their area of interest, completing applications, and guidance on follow-up communication with the programs to which they applied. During the funding period, 44 students participated in the Winternship activity in which all submitted a minimum of 3 applications for summer internship opportunities. Results presented will include student success at receiving summer internships, examples of projects completed during the summer and winter activities, and impact on student success. Adaption of this program to other community colleges and into a sophomore level research experience course will be described. This activity has now been funded through the NSF Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) Program for an additional five years in a partnership with California State University at San Bernardino.