The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) invited a group of thirty high school seniors with disabilities, along with their teachers and parents, to a transition event. The UAA Transition to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) event exposes students, teachers, and parents to STEM programs on campus and facilitates the transition from high school to college. The activity was supported by the Alliance for Access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The director of the UAA Disability Support Services (DSS) worked with STEM faculty, other campus partners and the local K-12 school district to arrange activities for the students. Specifically, students could participate in the following activities:

  • visit the campus and tour the STEM buildings,
  • receive printed information about STEM programs of study, such as engineering,
  • meet with college students who have disabilities,
  • eat lunch in the campus cafeteria,
  • tour the DSS office and meet DSS staff, and
  • fill out an application to the institution, with the application fee waived.

The UAA Transition to STEM event is a promising practice for STEM recruitment. It has resulted in an increase in the completion of college applications by high school students with disabilities who have an aptitude in STEM.

For additional information about transitioning to college, consult the Knowledge Base article What advice can be given to a high school student with a disability preparing for college?

AccessSTEM minigrants were funded under The Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AccessSTEM, Research in Disabilities Education award # HRD-0227995).