P906: “3+8” summer undergraduate research model: A promising mechanism for 2-year colleges
Community colleges serve a significant proportion of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, which includes 52% Hispanic students and 44% African-American students. However, few minority and low-income students from a community colleges transfer to a 4-year institutions. Summer bridge programs that involve partnerships between 2-year and 4-year institutions are promising mechanisms for successful retention in STEM fields. Herein, we report the implementation of an innovative undergraduate research model for students at Georgia Perimeter College (GPC). The “3+8” summer undergraduate research program offers GPC students an opportunity to engage in undergraduate research. The program combines a 3-week (May) research experience program at GPC with an 8-week research program (June and July) at a 4- year sister institution in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics. This experience provides a foundation that allows GPC students to successfully make the transition to STEM programs at the 4-year institution. In addition, these students will feel more comfortable in large research groups that provide a supportive environment for increased retention, progression and ultimately graduation in a STEM discipline.