Summer Bridge/Undergraduate Research Program – Going Remote with COVID-19

By: Dr. Mary Jo D. Parker, Dr. Mian Jiang & Dr. Weining Feng

The goal of a Department of Education MSEIP grant award (P120A190069) entitled Enhancing STEM Success targets a program that encourages, prepares, and supports minority STEM students, particularly minority females, to successful completion of the baccalaureate degree. The targeted population focuses on undergraduate years, where transitions and rigor often create barriers targeted by the project. The project addresses these barriers and transitions primarily through mentoring and research skill development. Project Co-PIs (Subject Matter Experts) offered their expertise, laboratories, and creativity for summer mentored research. These rich experiences connect course work to scientific research, thus supporting academic achievement, career investigations, and degree completion. Students were required to generate 8-10 hours of mentored research weekly. In June 2020, the UHD summer research program recruited entering freshmen, transitioning sophomores and juniors lacking experience in research. Due to COVID-19, all mentored experiences were virtual, using Zoom video-conferencing. Thirty-eight participants were accepted into the program.