Underrepresented students face unique challenges when entering the college environment, and they have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. But, STEM students attending Lehigh University have found these unpredictable times easier to navigate than their peers at other colleges, writes The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The Chronicle featured Lehigh and its Rapidly Accelerated Research Experience (RARE) program in the article, "How One University Helps STEM Students Succeed."
It's the combination of financial support, mentorship, a supportive community, and research experience that has given him and his peers the knowledge, experience, and confidence to pursue scientific careers, says Felix Quintana, a senior studying computer science and physics.
"When COVID-19 hit, I was already full steam ahead," he said.
The RARE program is itself only one prong of a wider set of initiatives at Lehigh to help undergraduate STEM students succeed, explains The Chronicle. All are helmed by Neal Simon and Vassie Ware, both longtime professors of the biological sciences, and the STEM programs are supported in large part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or HHMI.
"If you engage students in creative and team-based research — where they are an integral part of the process — it cements their commitment," says Ware.
Read more about the program and the experiences of Lehigh students in the report.