Diversifying who succeeds in STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

The Challenge and STEM Scholars Philosophy: The Story Behind the Numbers

Our universities rely on traditional predictors of student success (GPA/ACT/SAT/GRE/MCAT), but these measures are strongly biased by socioeconomic status and identity and in most cases, actually fail to predict student success. Furthermore, these out-dated metrics serve as an additional barrier to many underrepresented populations ((low income, first generation, or minority). Following the sabermetrics revolution in sports (e.g. Moneyball), the STEM Scholars program is interested in working with “undervalued talent” to fill the gaps in our higher education system.

High School GPA and ACT/SAT scores are an entry point for a broader discussion of ‘the story behind the numbers’. Underrepresented students have strengths and skill sets that are not fully utilized by our universities. STEM Scholars helps underrepresented students identify their strengths and how to apply them toward achieving their academic and professional goals. Because many of our members come from under-resourced high schools, economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and are the first in their families to attend college, success may mean taking courses, doing research or internships, and graduating on a different clock than their classmates. STEM Scholars starts where each member is and helps them develop an individualized plan to get them to where they want to be.

STEM Scholars challenges the “by the numbers” view about who can and should do science. STEM Scholars looks at other measures of success: passion for science, persistence, distance-travelled, willingness to seek and give help, and ability to re-strategize and regroup in the face of failure. Understanding the shared responsibility to oneself, your family/community, and the STEM Scholars community are keys to succeeding at Iowa State and beyond.

Developing Leaders and Change Agents: Changing the Face of Science

STEM Scholars provides opportunities and information for our members to take ownership and responsibility for their own successes. STEM Scholars puts the student in the driver seat of their own pathways into science through student-driven professional development activities, peer academic support, and staff advising. STEM Scholars seeks to develop leaders, creative problem solvers, and innovators. Graduates of the STEM Scholars will be prepared for a world without program and have the skills develop their own infrastructure.   We are looking for untapped scientific talent, talent that often times goes overlooked because the standard metrics, the predictors of success in science don’t always tell the full story. With every STEM degree, we make a difference.

We value the distance travelled, passion for science, commitment to service. Access is not just about admission, it is about providing the environment for student success. The STEM Scholars Community is one such environment.