First Annual Report for Award #0336462

Contact Information for Project

PI Information
Jack Heidel; University of Nebraska at Omaha
UNO and MCC STEPping Together

Primary Contact for Project Information
Name: Jack Heidel email:
Fax: (402) 554-2975
Phone: (402) 554-2417
Address: 6001 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68182

Participating Individuals
Co-Principal Investigators: Hesham H. Ali; Dana L. Richter-Egger; Michele O'Connor; Bradley Morrison
Senior Personnel: Jerry Cederblom; Carey Ryan
Research Experience for Undergraduates: Claudia Rauter; Mark Schoenbeck; Douglas Stack; Harmon Maher; Hassan Farhat
Graduate Student: Jason Gerlt
Techician, programmer: David Reyes

Type of Institution

Partner Organizations
Metropolitan Community College: Financial Support; Facilities; Collaborative Research

MCC has created seven new Associate Degrees in pre-Bioinformatics, pre-Biology, pre-Biotechnology, pre-Chemistry, Computer Science, pre-Mathematics and pre-Physics. A full time STEP Outreach Coordinator staff position has been created and filled to identify MCC students and potential students for these new degrees. Five such students have already been identified and given Bridge Scholarships to help them complete these degrees and then hopefully transfer to UNO to continue towards a STEM bachelor's degree.

Project Activities and Findings

Project Goal
The project goal is to increase the number of bachelor's and associate level degrees in all of the UNO and MCC STEM disciplines.

Activities and Findings
Research and Education Activities:

The major project activities are:

  1. 16 STEP Scholarship students at UNO during 2004-2005,
  2. presently recruiting for 20 more STEP scholars for 2005-2006,
  3. supervised 35 UNO students in Early Undergraduate Research in Summer and Fall 2004,
  4. created 7 new associate degrees in pre-STEM majors at MCC,
  5. actively recruiting MCC students for these new associate degrees,
  6. administering a 20 minute questionaire to 1/3 of all STEM majors at UNO (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics and Physics)during Spring 2005 for baseline information on attitudes towards science.


UNO STEM bachelor degrees increased from 155 in 2003 to 164 in 2004. An NSF Degree Data Form was submitted in February 2004 for 2003. The 2004 data, prepared in February 2005, has been submitted to NSF independently of this annual report. Including Engineering and Psychology, as on the official Degree Data Forms, total STEM degrees increased from 284 in 2003 to 355 in 2004.

Training and Development:

Training in mentoring is being provided to both UNO and MCC STEM faculty by Prof Andrea Zardetto-Smith in the UNO Psychology Department.

Outreach Activities:
  1. elaborate and growing website at describes STEP activities as they are developed,
  2. two PIs gave a presentation entitled "Innovative Models for Effective Collaboration between Universities and Community Colleges" at the NCA meeting in Chicago in April 2005,
  3. two PIs will participate in a panel discussion about UNO and MCC educational outreach activities at the CUMU meeting in Los Angeles in October 2005,
  4. MCC Outreach Coordinator David Reyes is recruiting STEM majors among both current and prospective MCC students.

Curricular Targets of Project

Disciplines Affected by Project
biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, physics,

Subjects Affected by Project
also psychology,

Summary Description of Pedagogical Approaches
Common course experience for STEP scholars based on the successful Goodrich model at UNO, also emphasis on early undergraduate research at UNO to motivate students to pursue a STEM major.

Internet Dissemination

Internet Dissemination

Additional Information

Contributions within Discipline:

The four major project components of:

  1. scholarship aid in all STEM major areas,
  2. early undergraduate research at UNO,
  3. creation of new pre-STEM degrees at MCC and
  4. a wide-ranging collection of evaluative data about STEM majors at both UNO and MCC,
are attracting much attention for STEP activities on both campuses.

Contributions to Other Disciplines:

The UNO Psychology Department is playing a growing role in the STEP project. Dr. Carey Ryan in Psychology is overseeing assessment and evaluation activities, Dr. Andrea Zardetto-Smith in Psychology is advising STEP personnel at both UNO and NCC on issues of mentoring especially for under-represented groups. Psychology PhD student Jason Gerlt is in charge of recruiting, selection and mentoring of STEP scholars.

Contributions to Education and Human Resources:

The UNO/MCC STEP project is attempting to increase both bachelor and associate level degrees in all STEM areas on both campuses. This is a broad-based five year task which has gotten off to a good start in the first year.

Contributions to Resources for Science and Technology:

The STEP grant has taken a one year membership in MentorNet, an online mentoring facilitator especially for women majoring in STEM disciplines. If MentorNet appears to be of value to the UNO community, the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Information Science and Technology have agreed to continue this membership in the future. Many lines of communication between UNO and MCC have been initiated and increased through grant activites. UNOs Andrea Zardetto-Smith will be focusing on further developing UNO/MCC inter-communications in the coming year.

Contributions Beyond Science and Engineering:

The growing communication between UNO and MCC faculty and administrators has lead to more cooperation in addressing issues of STEM education for all students, not just STEM majors.