UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Innovative STAMPS program builds STEM Community

It can be a misleading name: The Science, Technology and Math Preparation Scholarships Program, known on campus as “STAMPS.”

Yes, the program offers scholarships to UNC Greensboro students in the sciences with financial need. But there’s more – the nationally-recognized program provides faculty and peer mentorship, first-year seminars, undergraduate research opportunities, field trips, guest speakers, and an engaged, interdisciplinary community of current and future leaders in STEM.

The program, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and University funds, has proven to be well worth the investment since its launch in 2010. The first cohort had, approximately, a 90% four-year graduation rate in the sciences. The remaining 10% of students in the program also graduated in four years, just in other disciplines.

“The whole point is to build a community where students feel a part of something,” said Dr. Jeff Patton, professor of geography and co-director of the program along with Dr. Lynn Sametz. “That leads to success.”

Patton explains that if you look at retention and graduation rates for STEM disciplines, they are, somewhat surprisingly, lower than overall University rates.

“A lot of students leave the sciences after their first year,” he said. “I think a lot of them come in with one single idea of what science is, and one goal in mind – perhaps to be a doctor or a veterinarian. When they discover that’s not really what they want to do, they leave the sciences all together. This program shows them all the other things they can do with science.”

See full story and great visuals at UNCG Now.