The STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) undergraduate research summer program set out with the following goals: developing one new undergraduate opportunity in the Department of Biology, recruiting transfers from Piedmont Virginia Community College, and supporting seven student researchers for the eight week program.
The Jefferson Trust provided support to a STEM initiative designed to increase the number of participants from the Virginia-North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. The funds provided allowed the STEM undergraduate summer program to expand the number of underrepresented minority students, as well as improve the variety of research tracks available. Support from the Trust facilitated a one-to-one ratio between students and faculty members/graduate students, encouraging close mentoring. In the first year of involvement with the Jefferson Trust, a team of undergraduate students in the STEM summer program discovered a new, rare interstellar molecule. The program recently made the news, where the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education celebrated the four-year success of the program. Hopefully the positive news continues to come as the project thrives.