Minnesota’s private colleges feed STEM pipeline
Since 2000, the number of STEM degrees earned has increased 66% in Minnesota — with an overall increase of 49% at our member institutions and at 52% increase in STEM degrees earned by women.
The largest increase for STEM disciplines has been in math and statistics. Minnesota’s private colleges awarded 37% more degrees in math and statistics in 2015 than in 2011. This represents 32% of all degrees earned in the discipline in Minnesota.
Below is a sampling of some of our college’s STEM contributions. For a complete list, view our STEM handout.
Over the last four years, Augsburg College has provided National Science Foundation scholarships to 66 junior and senior STEM majors—of whom 39% began their college career at a community college and 36% are students of color. Each summer, about 60 students engage in on-campus undergraduate research and another 15 conduct research across the country at Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs).
Bethel University currently has faculty researching through four NSF grants in physics and biology. A STEM minor for elementary education majors began this academic year to develop teachers who effectively integrate STEM in to their classrooms. Bethel also annually hosts area elementary, middle and high school students for STEM events such as the Minnesota State Science Olympiad Division C Tournament; GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math and Science; and class field trips to Bethel’s labs. Bethel students regularly collaborate with faculty in physics, chemistry, biology, math and neuroscience on research projects that have resulted in peer-reviewed publications, student-faculty presentations and awards at regional and national conferences. The research projects are funded by some internal grants, but primarily through external grants.
Carleton College sent more students on to doctoral programs for geosciences and life sciences from 2003 to 2012, as tracked by the National Science Foundation, than any other liberal arts college. Particularly high numbers of students earn doctorate degrees in other scientific fields, as well: among liberal arts colleges, Carleton is second in students going on to earn physical science doctorates and third in students going on to earn math and computer science doctorates. Carleton is also a national leader among all colleges and universities nationwide in producing science PhDs — ranking sixth across all science disciplines and in the Top 10 since 1975.
College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
The Future Chemists Scholarships and Support (FoCuS) program is a special program for students interested studying chemistry or biochemistry at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Students accepted into the program receive a scholarship as well as valuable mentoring in their field. They gain academic, leadership and research experiences that help prepare them for careers in chemistry or biochemistry. Incoming students are eligible for this program, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Concordia College (Moorhead)
Concordia College dedicates an academic day to Celebration of Student Scholarship. It’s an opportunity for hundreds of students, many from STEM programs, to present their undergraduate research. The college recently created a neuroscience major and a computer science major with data analytics and computing concentrations.
Hamline University has a long history of providing undergraduate STEM students with collaborative research experiences as early as the summer after their first year — with the potential to continue research over multiple years. A $1.1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute helped expand the summer research program to include more students and create a vibrant STEM research community.
Macalester College ranks 15th among all U.S. liberal arts colleges in the percentage of its graduates who later earn science and engineering doctorates, according to the NSF Survey of Doctorates from 2004-2013. Students can start on this path with a collaborative research experience at Macalester. Within the last five years, approximately 130 students per year conducted research over the summer. Five in seven of these students worked in STEM fields.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
The Saint Mary’s University Fellow at Gundersen, established in 2013, is a partnership between Saint Mary’s and the Gundersen Medical Foundation in La Crosse through which students are immersed each year in research at the Kabara Cancer Research Institute. Students also frequently assist with research at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago.
St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University’s majors in the sciences have grown more than 30% since 2008. Students have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate collaborative research projects with talented faculty and present at local, state and national conferences. St. Kate’s Clare Booth Luce STEM Scholars receive scholarship support and special programs to enhance their education and career prospects. In addition, St. Kate’s offers a STEM minor and certificate for undergraduate education students and graduate programs in STEM and technology for licensed educators and Montessori teachers to enhance their competency and confidence in teaching STEM subjects.
St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College STEM faculty build upon their disciplinary strengths to promote interdisciplinary programs that include neuroscience, mathematical biology, biomolecular science, and environmental studies. Faculty members work collaboratively each summer with 50 to 60 undergraduate researchers and offer an average of 160 academic research experiences during the academic year. Thirty-seven percent of the majors awarded each May are in STEM fields. In addition, St. Olaf seeks to inspire younger students to pursue STEM majors through hosting the Science Olympiad, supporting Upward Bound, and participating in TRIO mentoring.
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas STEPS (Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer) Camp for girls has served more than 3,000 young women over the past 15 years. The weeklong overnight summer camp sponsored by the School of Engineering received the prestigious TEKNE Award from the Minnesota High Tech Association.