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Chemeketa Community College Awarded $199,994 Grant from National Science Foundation to increase the participation and success of underrepresented students in STEM

Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on September 17, 2021 1:52 AM
Chemeketa Community College has been awarded a grant in the amount of $199,994 from the National Science Foundation Chemeketa’s Hispanic Serving Institution Pilot Project will enhance Inclusive Community Collaboration and Supportive Cohorts to Improve STEM Student Success
PORTLAND, Oregon - September 16, 2021 — Chemeketa Community College has been awarded a grant in the amount of $199,994 from the National Science Foundation. With support from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), this 2-year project will combine a STEM-focused faculty community of practice with student support strategies to improve underrepresented students' STEM enrollment, persistence and degree attainment.

In Oregon, there is a current demand for STEM professionals, yet there exists a significant gap in STEM college course participation by both students who are Hispanic and/or women. The project aims to test strategies to reduce the degree attainment gap existing between Latinx and non-Latinx White students and the gap existing between female and male students. Current research comes primarily from 4-year universities, so this project will test those strategies in the community college environment.

Community college students are more likely to be low income, come from first generation to college families, have less academic preparation and are less likely to major in STEM than students from 4-year colleges. The project will combine professional development and student services to increase culturally responsive education and to test theories of student support in a community college. This project will connect students with STEM faculty, provide student scholarships and mentors, and test a faculty workshop series to improve inclusive teaching practices. The expected outcomes include an increase in the number of women and students of color pursuing and attaining degrees in STEM fields.

The project will pilot targeted student support practices and faculty professional development aimed at increasing underrepresented student participation, retention and degree attainment in STEM majors. The project answers two research questions: 1) Do the interventions improve student enrollment, retention and completion of STEM courses? and 2) Does the faculty professional development workshop series impact faculty teaching as measured by student experience and outcomes? The research methods will include pre and post event surveys, participation rates, student enrollment, retention and course performance outcomes.

The college expects to identify effective practices to enhance education and improve underrepresented student outcomes. The results of this pilot will inform a STEM track 2 proposal (A track 2 project would be longer in scope and would be aimed at implementing activities at scale), for college wide STEM impact at Chemeketa. The student interventions and faculty workshops in the pilot are designed to be appropriate and accessible for the community college environment and if effective, can easily be scaled.

Scholarship Information: A cohort of approximately 25 "STEM Scholars" will be formed in each of the academic years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023. These will be first year students at Chemeketa who are pursuing STEM programs. STEM Scholars will participate in activities throughout the year designed to help them connect with other STEM students and STEM faculty, explore career and transfer opportunities in STEM, and receive support in relation to thriving in STEM programs and classes. In addition to participating in the cohort, the STEM scholars will receive scholarship support in the amount of $1000. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2021/2022 STEM Scholar cohort. Interested students can apply to participate here: https://forms.gle/DUvyJwoC9wbR6feS7.

For more than 50 years, Chemeketa Community College has committed itself to transforming lives and our community through exceptional learning experiences in the Mid-Willamette Valley. As the second multi-campus district in Oregon, Chemeketa serves 30,000 students annually at its Salem and Yamhill Valley campuses, as well as Brooks, Eola, Winema, Dallas, Woodburn and Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry (CCBI).

Chemeketa Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educational institution.

Chemeketa Community College

Chemeketa Community College is a public community college in Salem, Oregon, with a campus in McMinnville and education centers in Dallas, Brooks, and Woodburn. In addition to the campuses and centers, the college's Center for Business and Industry in downtown Salem houses the Small Business Development Center and operates classes and programs benefiting area businesses. Chemeketa serves nearly 30,000 students each year in a district that covers 2,600 square miles in Marion, Polk, most of Yamhill, and part of Linn counties. History Chemeketa's history began in 1952, when the Salem School District started the Salem Technical-Vocational School to provide training for the unemployed. Two programs, Nursing and Electronics, were offered and were occupied in the school at the corner of 3rd and Gerth St. NW. In 1957, student records were lost in a fire at the district office. In 1969 the college district was formed, and a competition was held to name the new college. The winning entry came from dental assisting student Susan Blum, who wrote in her submission that the term 'Chemeketa' means 'a peaceful gathering place' in the language of the Kalapuya tribe. In December 1969, the Board of Education approved the name Chemeketa Community College. Property was purchased off Lancaster Street and the current Building 22 was the first official building.

Academics Chemeketa offers Associate of Applied Science degrees and certificates in more than 90 professional-technical programs, as well as Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degrees, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, Associate of Science-Oregon Transfer Business, Associate of Science-Oregon Transfer Computer Science, and an Associate of General Studies degrees.

The Northwest Wine Studies Center in Eola includes a working vineyard and houses the college's winemaking and vineyard management programs. This program was the first of its kind in Oregon