Fresno Pacific University will begin a new 2-year graduation guarantee program, called STREAMS, for community college students planning to get a bachelor’s degree in STEM fields, starting in the fall of 2016.
Supporting Transfers in Reaching Educational Aspirations in Math and Science, STREAMS, will help community college students earn a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, at Fresno Pacific. The program is open to all students in the State Center Community College District who have earned or are completing an associate degree. It is especially designed for students from low-income and/or under represented backgrounds who are the first in their families to attend a college or university.
Those who enter Fresno Pacific with the needed credits from community college and make satisfactory academic progress at the university will be able to graduate in two academic years. The university currently offers a four-year graduation guarantee for qualified students in all traditional undergraduate programs.
STREAMS is funded by a five-year National Science Foundation grant and includes scholarships for the students. “The goal is to promote a more representative workforce in STEM fields, especially for the Central Valley, by providing scholarships and academic mentoring for talented low-income students,” said Ken Cheung, Ph.D., an associate professor of chemistry at FPU and principal investigator for the grant.
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The major objectives of the STREAMS program are:
▪ Recruit a diverse group of academically talented community college students with financial need who are pursuing STEM careers and form them into groups that will go through the program together.
▪ Ensure that at least 85 percent of students earn a bachelor’s degree within two years of transferring to FPU. Tutoring, transfer agreements, group-building, mentoring, guaranteed class availability and transition-to-university programming will be offered.
▪ Have at least 80 percent of the STREAMS students secure employment or entrance to a graduate program in a STEM field within one year of graduation. Preparation will include career counseling, workshops with experts, GRE preparation, job shadowing at local businesses, internships and research opportunities and field trips to employers and graduate schools.
FPU is also hiring an activity director to work with STREAMS scholars. The first need is to find motivated students to begin the program. “We’re looking for good people who really want to be in STEM fields,” Cheung said.