LSAMP at Valencia College

Valencia College, along with its CFSA partner colleges, offers a range of learning experiences framed by one or more evidence-based, high impact practices (HIPs). HIPs in the work of LSAMP at Valencia College include:

  • Undergraduate Research
  • Internships
  • Peer-led Team Learning
  • Mentorships
  • E-Portfolios
  • Capstone Projects

Valencia aims to increase the retention and progression of URM STEM students by encouraging students’ participation and engagement in program activities formulated on one or more of the HIPs identified above. Such opportunities for students include:

Dedicated STEM Advising

Three project advisors support LSAMP students across Valencia College, building relationships with them, and providing guidance and mentoring to help students develop their education plans, optimize their transfer readiness and establish a practice of accessing resources to support their retention toward graduation. Simultaneous to their work as STEM advisors, these individuals serve on the project planning team to design and implement project activities to promote student retention and graduation with an associate degree, with demonstrated intent to enroll in a baccalaureate degree STEM major at the university level.

LSAMP Scholars Program

The LSAMP Scholars Program engages students in a two-semester experience that includes work placement in a STEM setting in the first semester followed by peer support and career readiness in the second semester.

During the first semester, Workplace Scholars engage in undergraduate research in meaningful ways and further develop transferable skills that include problem-solving, analytics and communications. LSAMP Workplace Scholars complete a capstone project of developing and presenting, during the LSAMP Showcase, a poster about their research.

LSAMP Scholars Medals

During the second semester of the program, Peer and Career Scholars focus on two areas: peer learning support and career development. To date, Peer and Career Scholars have supported peers by serving as supplemental learning (SL) leaders in STEM classes, peer tutors, peer study group leaders, or peer mentors. LSAMP project team members continue to explore other peer support opportunities for scholars during this portion of the program. Peer and Career Scholars also compile an e-portfolio to support continued progression on their STEM education and career journeys and to document their efforts and accomplishments in establishing a credible STEM presence.

Conference Participation and Presentations

LSAMP supports student participation in local, regional and national STEM conferences. These opportunities provide attendees access to education and career resources, professional development, and networking opportunities. Students who participate in these conferences as presenters often gain access to additional opportunities for conducting research and exploring STEM degree pathways.

STEM Summit

Alliance partners collaborate to offer a local conference to allow more CFSA students to benefit through professional conference participation. STEM Summit is a one-day conference that offers a range of learning opportunities, including keynote speaker, panels of STEM professionals, specialized workshops, undergraduate research poster presentations and community-building activities. Valencia College LSAMP students and alumni are active participants in this event, serving as workshop facilitators, undergraduate research panelists and poster presenters.

Summer STEM Institute (SSI)

The focus of SSI is providing incoming college students with learning opportunities in STEM content, skills and careers, collaborative problem-solving through a context of sustainable development, and capacity-building for college success. Project personnel have identified specific student learning outcomes in the areas of STEM career awareness and motivation and college readiness and success. These outcomes provide the framework for SSI and allow space for each of three Valencia College campuses (East, Osceola and West) to customize a schedule that engages campus faculty and staff, highlights campus resources and fosters important connections to the campus community. Each campus may host up to 24 students for SSI. Activities from some recent sessions of SSI include:

  • East: 3-D printing, Barbie® Bungee jump, egg drop challenge and explorations in biotechnology, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science
  • Osceola: estimating large numbers, mini math fair, gamification and fun theory, chemistry escape room and biotechnology
  • West: sustainable technology, bat house collaboration, 3-D printing, genetic engineering, explorations in physics, mathematics, civil engineering and building energy conservation
Summer STEM Institute 2017

External Research Experiences and Internships

Valencia College LSAMP students are encouraged and supported to pursue research and internship opportunities external to the college. Using a variety of strategies, project personnel share with students many opportunities for summer research experiences for undergraduates (REUs), academic year and summer opportunities through federal laboratories, and other targeted opportunities for community college students. Valencia College LSAMP students have gained undergraduate research experiences at many well-known institutions around the nation. These institutions include:

  • Boston University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Louisiana State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Purdue University
  • Summer@Station1, with placement at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Washington

Students also have gained internship opportunities through NASA Pathways and Siemens Energy.

Student Clubs

STEM-related clubs afford students affirming contexts for learning, serving and developing leadership skills. Each of the dedicated STEM advisors serves as advisor (or co-advisor) for a student STEM-focused Club. These clubs include: Women in STEM (WiSTEM) on East; Osceola Young Engineers Association (OYEA!) on Osceola; and STEM Club on West. These LSAMP/club advisors engage with club members, along with other staff and faculty, in a variety of learning experiences, including: STEM speakers and workshops, service projects, industry events and pre-college outreach.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Central Florida STEM Alliance is funded by NSF under award HRD-1712683, 08/01/2017-07/31/2020.