The Program

STEM Scholars are selected in the summer before their first year, and carry this distinction throughout their Bates career. Students may also apply to join the program beginning in their sophomore year.

Bates Science Fellows working on a projectFirst-year Program

First-year students selected as STEM Scholars enroll in the first-year seminar, STEM Scholars I, during the fall semester. This first-year seminar is a writing-intensive course that fulfills the W1 requirements and carries one course credit. The first-year seminar instructor serves as the STEM Scholars’ first-year and sophomore advisor. During the winter semester first-year students continue in the program by enrolling in EXDS 116, STEM Scholars I, a half-credit course that meets once a week.

In these courses STEM Scholars:

  • Explore current and enduring questions and quandaries in the sciences, including equity and inclusion in STEM
  • Make connections to ongoing course work in STEM courses
  • Talk about challenges in courses and strategize solutions
  • Experiment with online resources to build laboratory skills
  • Discuss ethics in scientific research
  • Explore science careers with scientists from the Bates faculty and alumni
  • Meet with campus experts in writing, quantitative reasoning, grantwriting, career development, and medical studies
  • Develop skills for success in the sciences at Bates

STEM Scholars program instructors provide individualized advising throughout the year and beyond.

Sophomore Program

Sophomore STEM Scholars take a half-credit course in the fall (EXDS 215, STEM Scholars II) and winter semester (EXDS 216, STEM Scholars II). These courses include continued discussion and exercises as well as homework.

EXDS 215-216 Course Description:
The sophomore year is an exciting time for STEM students, as they choose their major and take upper-level science and mathematics courses. In this course, students continue to develop their science identity, confidence, and enthusiasm for STEM. Conversations with a diverse network of professional scientists and hands-on group research activities demonstrate how scientists and mathematicians identify and work on real problems. Through self-reflection and development of a growth mind-set, students begin to align their values, passions, and interests with their personal goals. In addition, students participate in workshops on study skills, stress management, choosing a major, study abroad, resumes, and summer research, among others.

Faculty: Fall semester: April Hill (Biology) and Barry Lawson (Digital and Computational Studies);
Winter semester: Lori Banks (Biology) and Jeff Oishi (Physics and Astronomy)

Course Learning Goals:
1) Foster increased confidence and enthusiasm in science and math.
2) Understand how scientists and mathematicians work on real problems and that the best science and math is done by diverse teams.
3) Learn strategies to plan, practice, and evaluate learning (including stress management)
4) Practice a growth mindset with respect to scientific and mathematical thinking and ability
5) Respect and incorporate ideas from community members with different perspectives and backgrounds
6) Solicit feedback from others and revise work or behavior appropriately
7) Define personal goals and explore self-motivation
8) Align personal values, passions, and interests with career aspirations

Course Activities:
Learn about and practice metacognition and study skills
Talk to STEM experts about their careers and experiences
Work with Purposeful Work to bolster your resume and learn about on and off campus opportunities in STEM
Develop an individual development plan to map your STEM goals
Discuss major declarations with department and program chairs as well as current student majors
Engage in a book club about STEM
Work on a research project with collaborators from outside institutions
Work with the Bates SACNAS chapter to plan campus activities

Unique Opportunities for STEM Scholars:
STEM Scholars have the opportunity to participate in summer research early in their career through the STEM Scholars Faculty-Student Summer Grants, in which a STEM Scholar joins a student-faculty STEM research group for an 8 to 10 week paid research assistantship.

STEM Scholars also are encouraged to become teaching assistants, Peer Assisted Learning (PALS) leaders in STEM courses, math tutors, and STEM Scholar Mentors to younger students and assume other leadership roles.

Benefits of the Program:
As a STEM Scholar, you will:

  • Have the opportunity to kindle your passion for scientific exploration and discovery
  • Work with a small cohort of like-minded, talented students interested in science
  • Gain experience in group work, a major component of science courses at Bates
  • Enhance your quantitative reasoning, time management, and study skills
  • Strengthen your ability to reason from evidence
  • Increase your proficiency at lab work
  • Learn strategies to master key content in scientific literature
  • Receive guidance throughout the year from a science faculty mentor