Bridging the Valley
Bridgewater College (BC) has partnered with Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC),Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), James Madison University (JMU), SRI Inc., and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to address the challenges of building additional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related major enrollments and retaining students to program completion. The National Science Foundation awarded the partners nearly $1.5 million to meet this goal. Additional information about the grant can be found by visiting www.jmu.edu/stem/btv
The focus for Bridging the Valley: A STEP Ahead for STEM Majors, is to increase the number of STEM related majors at the four institutions. The project will accomplish this goal by better preparing entering students for collegiate mathematics and supporting their pursuit and completion of STEM degrees and potential careers through the following activities:
- An innovative, three week, STEM-focused residential program (Summer Bridge Program)
- Collaborative Learning Club
- Corporate Connections
- K-12 outreach
- A Faculty Professional Development Program
Summer Bridge Program
June 23 - July 12, 2013
This is a residential program designed to assist students interested in STEM-related majors. This program offers incoming freshman extra preparation for college level mathematics and hands-on learning with thematic science/technology research and problem-solving skills. Incoming freshmen will be invited to participate based on their math placement test score during orientation and the math/writing SAT score.
To learn more about this opportunity, contact:
Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger
Collaborative Learning BC-CLC
The BC CLC is a program to assist first-year students majoring in the STEM disciplines to have a successful initial year at Bridgewater College. This will be achieved by:
- connecting first year students with STEM faculty and upper class research assistants
- organizing a community of peers experiencing issues effecting the transition to college and demands of pursuing STEM related degree
- providing leadership workshops and special events to interact with STEM professionals, faculty and students
Students who participated in the Summer Bridge Program are required to attend CLC activities in order to be eligible for their fall stipend.
An integral part of the retention plan for Bridging the Valley: A STEP Ahead for STEM Majors is to offer students an opportunity to develop new skills, gain experience working in STEM-related fields, collaborate in a team, and build relationships with potential employers. We work closely with Career Services on each campus and encourage you to take advantage of activities that prepare you for future STEM careers. In addition to Bridgewater's career services staff, Corporate Connections works with local businesses to provide work related opportunities. Our efforts are focused on connecting students in one of the following ways:
|Semester Internship||Students work with local businesses during the academic year to complement classroom curriculums and enhance knowledge about desired career.||15 weeks/ 10-20 hours weekly
Designed to fit around class schedule. Fall & Spring Semesters
|Summer Internship||Students work on projects that are meaningful, challenging and a reflection of realistic expectations of entry-level STEM careers. Doing this during the summer allows the student to contribute to industry without class disruption.||6-8 weeks/ 35-40 hours weekly
Designed to fit into summer break May-August
|Credit Internship||Students work with a faculty sponsor and receive academic credit for work experience. The student, faculty member and industry intern supervisor all sign a contract indicating the experience meets course requirements.
1 credit = approximately 60 hours of onsite work, but this does vary per institution and department
|The length varies per # of credit hours requested by student.
Desired timeframe for internship:
|Industry Internship||Many businesses have a formalized internship program or a project that has a different timeline so additional structures are welcomed. This is an opportunity to get assistance on projects that will not require as many hours of work.||Varies per industry needs.|
|Job Shadow||Job shadowing is designed to increase career awareness, reinforce practices and skills needed in the work environment, and link classroom learning to work requirements. Students will observe only with this opportunity and have no direct responsibilities.||Shadowing is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace and varies per professional.|
If you are interested in working with Corporate Connection on finding an internship or job shadow, please complete the Student Interest form.
Students are also encouraged to work with Career Services.
Corporate Connections Contact: Jennifer Sowers firstname.lastname@example.org 540-820-0514
Professional development will be offered to collegiate STEM instructors to improve student engagement and retention. Click here for more information.
In order to sustain the increases in STEM major degrees beyond the duration for this project, we will work with K-12 STEM instructors and guidance counselors. Click here for more information.
Student Teaching Assistants, Mentors, and Tutors
If you are a STEM major and would like to participate in this program, contact Jennifer Sowers email@example.com. Positions are available in the summer and during the academic year.
Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Bridges Project, Internship Coordinator
BCSTEM Related Majors