Applications are now open for the first cohort of IMMERSE in STEM scholars! Applications are due by November 9, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. IMMERSE in STEM stands for Innovative and Meaningful Mentoring to Enhance Retention, Success, and Engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

Selected IMMERSE in STEM scholars will be paired with faculty mentors and will start receiving scholarship support in Spring 2023. To be eligible, students must be US citizens, have non-zero unmet financial need,s and have an intended major or area of study in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics. For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, please visit You can also contact Professors Emilie Hein ( or Rick Hough ( if you have any questions. 

IMMERSE in STEM will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Skyline College. Over its 5-year duration, this project will fund 90 scholarships to at least 30 students who are advancing toward an associate degree or transferring to a four-year university to earn a degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics. Each student will receive up to three years of support. In addition to scholarships, the project will incorporate a transformative approach to mentoring, and innovative supports intended to address financial and academic barriers. All participating students will engage in a comprehensive set of evidence-based co-curricular services designed to support their persistence, completion, and transfer. By combining financial assistance with academic support and mentor guidance, this project should increase the number of students in STEM fields, especially from underrepresented groups. Faculty mentors will be trained on innovative and effective approaches to student retention and success, such as the implementation of ePortfolios.

The overall goal of this project is to increase the STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. There are three specific aims: 1) leverage existing high-impact, evidence-based processes already implemented on campus (such as ePortfolios and undergraduate research opportunities); 2) implement a cohesive multi-layer mentorship program to increase retention, student success, and graduation of scholars; 3) expand industry partnerships in association with workforce development programs to support the scholars’ academic and career opportunities with mentoring and internships.

This project is funded by NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, which seeks to increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation, and academic/career pathways of low-income students.

We would like to thank Dr. Jing Folsom and Dr. Carla Grandy for their invaluable contributions to the success of this grant proposal. The completion of the grant proposal would also not have been possible without the support of Rita Gulli, Ari Soler, Ingrid Vargas, Zahra Mojtahedi, and Andrea Vizenor. In addition, we are grateful for the support of the leadership teams at Skyline College and San Mateo Community College District. Finally, we would like to thank Aria Hariklia, Bryan Swartout, Thanh Nguyen, and Mia Coo for their help in launching the program. 

This work is supported by NSF S-STEM grant award #2221696. 

Article by Emilie Hein and Rick Hough

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