Community College Research Initiatives

December 10, 2020

Enhancing Undergraduate Research at Community Colleges in the Puget Sound

Last year, CCRI had the privilege of working with 3 local community colleges as a facilitator and evaluator on a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to Baccalaureate (B2B) planning grant. This planning grant with North Seattle College, Green River College and Pierce College led to the successful attainment of a 3-year Puget Sound Alliance LSAMP B2B grant, to increase the enrollment, completion and transfer of underrepresented minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

Because undergraduate research has been associated with improved student outcomes and reduction in racial disparities, the grant focuses on enhancing or providing more Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE) opportunities for STEM students at all 3 colleges. It also leverages institutional strengths to provide students opportunities to be peer tutors, lab assistants, and high school outreach leaders. In addition, the project will create a Community of Practice around undergraduate research so faculty can share what they learn and enhance each other’s work. 

To coordinate this effort, North Seattle College, which serves as the lead institution, was able to hire a Manager, Catherine Thomas, M.S. to gather data, provide support across all three institutions, and conduct outreach with local K-12 and 4-year institutions and industry. Catherine brings a depth of STEM experience having worked in the aerospace industry and STEM education field. She is also an active member of professional organizations including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. CCRI has the pleasure of being the evaluator on this grant and we look forward to working with this great team on the next phase of their project.