UNO
MCC
NSF

SECOND ANNUAL REPORT FOR AWARD # 0336462

Contact Information for Project

PI Information:



Primary contact for project information:
Name : Jack Heidel
E mail : jheidel@mail.unomaha.edu
Fax : 4025542975
Phone : 4025542417
Address : 6001 Dodge St. Omaha Nebraska 68182

Participant Individuals:
CoPrincipal Investigator(s) : Hesham H Ali; Dana L Richter-Egger; Michele O'Connor; Bradley Morrison
Senior personnel(s) : Jerry Cederblom; Carey Ryan
Research Experience for Undergraduates(s) : Claudia Rauter; Mark Schoenbeck; Douglas Stack; Harmon Maher; Hassan Farhat
Graduate student(s) : Jason Gerlt
Technician, programmer(s) : David Reyes
Research Experience for Undergraduates(s) : James Carroll; Zhengxin Chen; Victor Winter

Type of Institution:
GRAD

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
current MCC students and other potential students for these new
degrees. Fifteen 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(s):

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

Updated Project Description:

The major project activities are: 1) 16 STEP Scholarship students at
UNO during 2004-2005, and 15 of these renewed for 2005-2006, 2) 18 new
STEP scholarships awarded for 2005-2006,3) presently recruiting for 20
more new STEP scholars for 2006-2007, 4) supervised 35 UNO students in
Early Undergraduate Research in Summer and Fall 2004, and 24 more
during Summer and Fall 2005, 5) created 7 new associate degrees in
pre-STEM majors at MCC, 6) actively recruiting MCC students for these
new associate degrees; 15 MCC STEM students hold STEP Bridge
scholarships in Spring 2006, 7) 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 and 202 in 2005. NSF
Degree Data Forms have been submitted in February 2004 for 2003,in
February 2005 for 2004 and in February 2006 for 2005. Including
Engineering (located at UNO but administered by UNL), Management
Information Systems and Psychology, total STEM degrees increased from
346 in 2003 to 439 in 2004 and 477 in 2005. EUR is especially
efficient in retaing STEM majors. Of the total of 59 EUR students so
far, all but 7 are still STEM majors or have graduated with a STEM
degree.Training in mentoring was provided, in 2004-2005, to both UNO
and MCC STEM faculty by Prof Andrea Zardetto-Smith from the UNO
Psychology Department.Outreach activities are: 1) elaborate and
growing website at http://avalon.unomaha.edu/step describes STEP
activities as they are developed, 2) two PIs gave a presentation at
NCA meeting in Chicago in April, 3) two PIs participated in a panel
discussion about UNO and MCC educational outreach activities at CUMU
meeting in Los Angeles in October 2005, 4) many other presentations by
STEP personnel have been given regionally. These are detailed on the
STEP website. 5) MCC Outreach Coordinator David Reyes is recruiting
STEM majors among both current and prospective MCC students and also
distributes information about UNO STEP activities. He visits all 29
high schools in the four county metro Omaha region up to five times
each school year to talk with students and pass out literature.
          

Innovations or Unique Successes to Date:

The five major project components of 1) scholarship aid for STEM
majors at UNO and MCC, 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,
and 5) informational and recruiting outreach to all Omaha area high
schools provided by the MCC STEP coordinator, are attracting much
attention for STEP activities on both campuses and in the entire Omaha
area.The UNO Psychology Department is playing a growing role in the
STEP project.  Dr. Carey Ryan in Psychology is conducting social
climate assessment in the UNO STEM disciplines. This takes the form of
an annual 20 minute questionaire. A summary of first year findings is
on the STEP website. Psychology PhD student Jason Gerlt is in charge
of recruiting, selection and mentoring of STEP scholars, of whom there
are 34 so far with more now being recruited for Fall 2006.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 two years.1) STEP funds have been used to set up a Math/Phys
Walk-in Tutoring Room in the Durham Science Center.  Up to 20 students
per day use this resource on a daily basis. Tutoring services will
become one function of a Science/Math Learning Center now being
seriously planned for at UNO. 2) EUR is particularly useful in STEM
retention with a success rate so far of 52 out of 59 total
participants. There are now two offshoots from STEP EUR.  One is a
large scale study of lead contamination by geology and chemistry
students. Another is a CCLI proposal by Biology and Chemistry 'Taking
Science for a Test Drive'. 3) STEP outreach coordinator David Reyes is
providing all 29 Omaha area high schools with general information
about opportunities for studying science at the college level (MCC or
UNO) in Omaha. In other words, UNO and MCC are coordinating their
recruiting efforts for STEM students and working well together.
          

Activities and findings:

Research and Education Activities: 
The major project activities are: 1) 16 STEP Scholarship students at UNO during 2004-2005, and 15 of these renewed for 2005-2006, 2) 18 new STEP scholarships awarded for 2005-2006,3) presently recruiting for 20 more new STEP scholars for 2006-2007, 4) supervised 35 UNO students in Early Undergraduate Research in Summer and Fall 2004, and 24 more during Summer and Fall 2005, 5) created 7 new associate degrees in pre-STEM majors at MCC, 6) actively recruiting MCC students for these new associate degrees; 15 MCC STEM students hold STEP Bridge scholarships in Spring 2006, 7) 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.

Findings:
UNO STEM bachelor degrees increased from 155 in 2003 to 164 in 2004 and 202 in 2005. NSF Degree Data Forms have been submitted in February 2004 for 2003,in February 2005 for 2004 and in February 2006 for 2005. Including Engineering (located at UNO but administered by UNL), Management Information Systems and Psychology, total STEM degrees increased from 346 in 2003 to 439 in 2004 and 477 in 2005. EUR is especially efficient in retaing STEM majors. Of the total of 59 EUR students so far, all but 7 are still STEM majors or have graduated with a STEM degree.

Training and Development:
Training in mentoring was provided, in 2004-2005, to both UNO and MCC STEM faculty by Prof Andrea Zardetto-Smith from the UNO Psychology Department.

Outreach Activities:
Outreach activities are: 1) elaborate and growing website at http://avalon.unomaha.edu/step describes STEP activities as they are developed, 2) two PIs gave a presentation at NCA meeting in Chicago in April, 3) two PIs participated in a panel discussion about UNO and MCC educational outreach activities at CUMU meeting in Los Angeles in October 2005, 4) many other presentations by STEP personnel have been given regionally. These are detailed on the STEP website. 5) MCC Outreach Coordinator David Reyes is recruiting STEM majors among both current and prospective MCC students and also distributes information about UNO STEP activities. He visits all 29 high schools in the four county metro Omaha region up to five times each school year to talk with students and pass out literature
.

Curricular target(s) of Project

Discipline(s) Affected by Project:

biology, chemistry, computer
science, geology, mathematics, physics
          

Subject(s) 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.
          

Project Products, Publications, Materials

Journal Publications:


Book(s) of other one-time publications(s):

Other Specific Products:


Internet Dissemination

Internet Dissemination:

http://avalon.unomaha.edu/step

the web site provides comprehensive, detailed information about all
UNO/MCC STEP activities including application forms for all STEP
scholarship support. All general inquiries for STEP information are
refered to this website for a broad overview. The website is
maintained by the Academic Coordinator in the UNO Mathematics
Department.

Additional Information

Contributions:

Contributions within Discipline:

 The five major project components of 1) scholarship aid for STEM
majors at UNO and MCC, 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,
and 5) informational and recruiting outreach to all Omaha area high
schools provided by the MCC STEP coordinator, are attracting much
attention for STEP activities on both campuses and in the entire Omaha
area.
          

Contributions to Other Disciplines:
 The UNO Psychology Department is playing a growing role in the STEP
project.  Dr. Carey Ryan in Psychology is conducting social climate
assessment in the UNO STEM disciplines. This takes the form of an
annual 20 minute questionaire. A summary of first year findings is on
the STEP website. Psychology PhD student Jason Gerlt is in charge of
recruiting, selection and mentoring of STEP scholars, of whom there
are 34 so far with more now being recruited for Fall 2006.
          

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 two years.
          

Contributions to Resources for Research and Education:
 1) STEP funds have been used to set up a Math/Phys Walk-in Tutoring
Room in the Durham Science Center.  Up to 20 students per day use this
resource on a daily basis. Tutoring services will become one function
of a Science/Math Learning Center now being seriously planned for at
UNO. 2) EUR is particularly useful in STEM retention with a success
rate so far of 52 out of 59 total participants. There are now two
offshoots from STEP EUR.  One is a large scale study of lead
contamination by geology and chemistry students. Another is a CCLI
proposal by Biology and Chemistry 'Taking Science for a Test Drive'.
3) STEP outreach coordinator David Reyes is providing all 29 Omaha
area high schools with general information about opportunities for
studying science at the college level (MCC or UNO) in Omaha. In other
words, UNO and MCC are coordinating their recruiting efforts for STEM
students and working well together.
          

Contributions Beyond Science and Engineering:
 The growing communication between UNO and MCC faculty and
administrators has led to more cooperation in addressing issues of
STEM education for all students, not just identified STEM majors. For
example, much attention is being given to improving success rates in
Intermediate Algebra.  This is being done by focusing on math anxiety
and providing supplementary internet testing of basic skills.  A new
initiative, 'Writing about Algebra' is being developed between English
and Math at both UNO and MCC.