As the costs of attending a 4-year college continue to increase, community colleges are increasingly seen as a route to lower college costs. Furthermore, community colleges are also major destinations for lower income, first generation, women and minority students, and significant pipelines for students seeking to earn STEM degrees. However, a small percentage of students who enter community college planning to transfer actually do so, and those who are able to transfer face a number of barriers that can make success difficult, including obtaining undergraduate research experience, which can contribute to the success of STEM students.
Current data suggest that research experience of over a year provides better value to the student than summer experiences. The CU Research Transfer Program aims to enhance the success of 2-year transfer biology students at Cornell University by enhancing their transition to Cornell, and increasing their participating in undergraduate research. The proposed program includes three stages: Pre-summer Research Exposure Program (PREP) (to enhance preparation for laboratory research); Research Mentoring and Preparation (value added research training), Peer Mentorship and Outreach, and Evaluation.
Since 2-year transfer biology students to Cornell are more likely to be underrepresented than the total transfer population, we anticipate that this program will also enhance the success of underrepresented students at Cornell.