In 2005, the MIT MRSEC began the Community College Program (CCP), a targeted REU program. Participants come from nearby Roxbury Community College (RCC) and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). Objectives of the initiative are to reach nontraditional and under-represented students and draw them into STEM careers by providing them with research opportunities not available at their home institutions. Additional objectives are to improve their technical skills, introduce them to the field of materials science and engineering and increase their self-confidence to succeed in STEM careers. At MIT, the students spend the summer engaged in current research. They join other REU students at the MRSEC for weekly meetings that feature professional development programs such as patents and licenses, preparing high-quality research posters, graduate school admission, and faculty talks on “hot topics” in materials science and engineering. At the end of the summer the students present their work in a poster session.
Since the inception of the CCP, 63 undergraduates have participated. The program continues to be popular among the RCC and BHCC students and faculty. Community college faculty report that they see greater self-confidence among the students who participate in the program. They also indicate that they detect an increase in the motivation of the CCP interns. Another benefit is students and faculty report that being at MIT introduces the students to a much broader range of STEM career options and helps them clarify their career interests.
A majority of the CCP participants continue to four-year degrees. Of the total 63 students, 71% have enrolled in bachelor degree programs to date, and 76% of those majored in science or engineering. So far, seven former program participants have gone on to graduate school and one to medical school. The medical school graduate is currently a Cardiology Fellow at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the first Ph.D. is expected in August.
|Kathleen Keefe, a BHCC student who spent summer of 2003 at CMSE working on fabricating functionalized nanotubes to produce materials with changeable mechanical properties. She proceeded to graduate study at Temple University and expects to graduate with her Ph.D. in neuroscience in August 2018.|