2019 Mott Community College and Washtenaw Community College

STEM Scholars at MCC & WCC

Experiential Learning Advisory Board:

Mott Community College

  • Carla Clark, Outreach Coordinator
  • Dawn Hibbard, Communications Specialist
  • Derek Lancaster, Accountant
  • Jessica Bixel, STEM Scholars Program Coordinator
  • Keith Allen, Advisor & Student Success Specialist
  • Sheila Swyrtek, Site Lead & Faculty Physical Sciences
  • Sunni Samuels-Larry, Site Lead & Faculty Mathematics
  • Todd Troutman, Co-PI /Steering Committee & Dean, Science and Mathematics

Washtenaw Community College

  • Amy Carpenter, Arts & Sciences Coordinator Instructional Support
  • Jenna Steiner, STEM Scholars success coach
  • Karen Parker, Restricted Funds Acct Manager
  • Kim Hurns, VP of Instruction
  • Lisa Adams, Restricted Funds Acct
  • Susan Dentel, Biology Faculty & WCC STEM Scholars Coordinator
  • Victor Vega, Dean of Math & Sciences

The STEM Scholars program started in December 2016. The program was made possible through two five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grants the colleges were awarded, the S-STEM Scholarship Program and the MI-LSAMP Program, but that possibility was made reality through the countless dedicated hours of these two teams brainstorming, resource sharing, supporting and encouraging each other. From a March 5, 2018 MCC faculty update: “We have finalized our application selection model, which is a modified version of WCC’s process that Susan Dentel was generous enough to share with us. Our selection committee met for the first time on Mar. 2, 2018 to review our first-round applicants. Two faculty (one science and one mathematics) joined three members of the STEM Scholars steering committee to form our selection team. In reviewing our first-round applications (deadline Feb. 26, 2018), we found that there were only two who met the Pell eligibility requirement for the S-STEM scholarship. We have therefore initiated a second-round application cycle (due Mar. 26, 2018) and are in the process of widening our recruitment and outreach strategies to gain more participants for our first year. We have awarded S-STEM scholarships to the two eligible students in the first round.” From those humble beginnings, together, the funds have allowed MCC & WCC to support a racially, financially, and socially diverse group of 82 students in their attempt to complete an Associates of Science Degree.

MCC and WCC are part of an alliance of Michigan universities and community colleges using those NSF grants to help increase participation and graduation rates among underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math. Students accepted into the STEM Scholars at MCC & WCC will have opportunities to participate in paid undergraduate research and internships, work with professional STEM mentors, and benefit from extensive academic support including advising, peer and professional tutoring, conference travel, university transfer preparation, and participation in a Summer Bridge Pre-College Program. The faculty at MCC & WCC also developed and taught a Research Methods course which uniquely offers undergraduate students inquiry-based learning as they prepare for future professional opportunities which includes presenting their research at national conferences.

In 2019 the MCC Scholars presented their research (Influence of Water Quality on Frog Growth by Autumn Holland & Mikaya Lewis; How the Water Quality of the Flint River Water Affects the Development of Minnows by Brianna Horne & Victoria Carbone; Water Analysis of Microbial Agents: Legionella, Salmonella and E. Coli by Sidney Fairchild & Jacqueline Leader; What Heavy Metals are Absorbed by Plants, If Any? by Raven Hupp-Andrews & Khadija Briggs; How Does Water Pollution Affect Plant Growth? by Jaquay Renfro & Steven Brown) at two national conferences: the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, California and the WCC Scholars presented their research (Assessment of Imputation Analysis on Single-Cell RNA Sequencing of Pancreatic Cancer by Michael Cooke; Cognitive Deficits and Vascular Dysregulation of 5xFAD Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease by Araba Gyan; How does Behavioral Mimicry Vary Across Snake Species? by Kayla Winter) at the UROP Summer Research Symposium in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Araba Gyan received two blue ribbon awards for best poster presentation. The undergraduate research component of the STEM Scholars program has been so well received that this November Dean Todd Troutman of MCC was selected by the American Association of Community Colleges to participate in their Community College Undergraduate Research Summit in Washington DC.

As we look to the future of these programs and their impact on our students and their community, MCC STEM Scholars have started a STEAM club with the mission to share the unique resources they have access to with their larger student body and WCC is offering for the first time STEAM Week (Feb 3-7, 2020) which will feature daily speakers (such as the director of the Ann Arbor symphony orchestra) , activities, workshops (like Technical Writing), and opportunities to visit WCC science and math classrooms and labs. STEAM week is open to everyone at WCC and the surrounding community, which will include members of the MI-LSAMP alliance and volunteers from the MCC STEAM Club—a collaboration between not just the program administrators but the very students these programs were built to encourage and support.