Southern Maine and York County Community Colleges awarded NASA grants to increase student retention and graduation rates

The Maine Space Grant Consortium announced today that Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) and York County Community College (YCCC) have been awarded funds to pilot and evaluate a model that is intended to increase the number of community college students that complete their degrees on time and pursue aerospace science and technology careers or transfer to four-year institutions to continue their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

NASA is funding this pilot project through a two-year award to the Consortium.  With their individual awards, SMCC and YCCC will implement the following activities:

• Three-semester scholarships for cohorts of first-year students at both colleges starting in their 2nd semester and continuing to their 4th semester contingent on academic progress.
• STEM Scholars Program as a STEM Learning Community to widen YCCC students’ horizons by introducing them to a wide spectrum of STEM research and scientific topics.
• Research internships for students at both colleges to experience research at Maine universities, colleges, research institutions, technology-based businesses, and NASA facilities.
• Bridge scholarships for students at both colleges that are admitted to four-year institutions to ease transition.
• Infusion of NASA contents in SMCC’s Oceanography Instrumentation and Capstone Research courses, and YCCC’s Biology, Computer Technology and Microbiology courses.
• A Faculty Development Program to train STEM faculty from all Maine Community Colleges on how to infuse NASA contents in their courses.

The Consortium selected SMCC and YCCC for this pilot project because they represent different ends of the spectrum in degree programs and student characteristics among Maine community colleges.

Read the entire press release for more information