NSF S-STEM: Learning in Advance Research Study


Project Description

The Learning in Advance (LIA) project is funded through the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-STEM) program. LIA students take a one-credit hour preparatory course introducing them to fundamental concepts before they encounter these concepts in a gateway course for their major. In addition, students who are deemed eligible based on FAFSA are considered for an S-STEM scholarship after successful completion of the LIA prep course. These LIA Scholars are also assigned a faculty mentor, and they are encouraged to explore experiential learning opportunities. The research study accompanying this project investigates the construct of embeddedness and its role in the development of professional identity and student outcomes. Embeddedness theory framework describes factors that may retain students in an Engineering major, positing three critical aspects that combine to explain persistence: (a) fit, or perceived compatibility with demands and environment; (b) links, or connections between a person and the institution or organization; and (c) sacrifice, or costs and losses that would be incurred by leaving the situation. The study investigate the embeddedness of LIA students within their major and the university community and the relationship of embeddedness concepts to outcomes, persistence, and changes across time.