diversityinstem

#FlashbackFriday in honor of #PRD18 yesterday: LuLu Chen, Scholes Group Alumna won a Gold Prize for Undergraduate Poster Presentation at #PRD17 for her poster titled “Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Organic Nanoparticles for Photo-induced Imaging and Therapy of Cancer”. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! .

Happy 50th Anniversary, STEP!

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of STEP (Stevens Technical Enrichment Program) at Stevens Institute of Technology. The STEP program was implemented by former Stevens President, Jess Davis, to address the underrepresentation of minorities and lower-income students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). An article announcing the STEP program in the Summer 1968 issue of the Stevens Indicator describes the two main purposes of this new program: “First, to stimulate interest in various areas of study with the hope of creating a desire for higher education, especially in the field of science and engineering. Second, to improve the students’ skills in English and Mathematics to enable them to take advantage of the higher education opportunities available to them.”

The STEP program recruits students from high schools in the Hoboken, Jersey City, and NYC area. It’s a pre-college program with students taking summer courses in STEM fields to increase their opportunities and interest in science fields that are not always considered an option by students from underrepresented minority groups.

The first summer of STEP was in June 1968 which was written about in the New York Times on June 30, 1968. That first summer had recruited 32 students from nearby high schools who were recommended for their strong aptitude in math and science. One student named Trevor from Evander Childs High School in the Bronx was quoted as saying “It seems like a lot of fun so far.” He then added that he always got good grades in math, “but I know it’s going to be a lot more work than fun.”

Many students like Trevor were given more exposure to science and engineering fields during high school through the STEP program at Stevens. Not all STEP students ended up in STEM fields, but the students that did go on to study at Stevens boasted of one of the highest graduation rates. Back in the spring of 2008 when the program was celebrating their 40th anniversary the Stevens Indicator stated that “STEP students, in fact, have a slightly higher graduation rate, at 76 percent, than the Stevens’ overall 75 percent graduation rate.”  

The STEP program has been a great success at Stevens and continues to reach a wider population of underrepresented student populations in the nearby area. The STEP program has helped play a big part in our increased diversity which plays an essential role in the campus culture and has also helped students build confidence and motivation in demanding STEM fields.

Happy 50th Anniversary, STEP!!