STEM Forward Scholars program provides opportunities for students in science

The new KUEC program offers support, professional resources, and networking for students from underrepresented communities interested in a STEM degree.

Students in lab coats with the text over image STEM Forward Scholars Program

Students from underrepresented communities may face many obstacles that prevent them from succeeding in STEM fields. To address this issue, KU Edwards developed the STEM Forward Scholars program.

The newly created STEM Forward Scholars program provides career services, advising, tutoring, and professional development opportunities to students of color or Pell-eligible students enrolled in biotechnology, applied biological sciences, or health sciences degree programs at KU Edwards. Developed as a part of KU’s commitment to a diverse and equitable STEM workforce, the program offers additional support to students from historically marginalized communities and those underrepresented in STEM fields.

“We aim to empower the students through personal and professional development and, ultimately, improve academic outcomes,” explains Sara Chavez, Career and Experiential Learning program manager. “The goal is to ensure students can identify and feel comfortable connecting with the resources and people needed to succeed at KU Edwards.”

STEM Forward Scholars are encouraged to use resources such as academic success coaches, faculty, career services, and student support specialists to receive STEM-focused advising, tutoring, and mentoring. The program also offers experiential learning, professional development seminars, and social and networking opportunities. In addition to fostering professional connections in a student's chosen industry, the STEM Forward Scholars program fosters lasting relationships with KU peers, faculty, and staff, which create a stronger sense of community and enrich their experience at KU.

For students interested in STEM but unsure of which career path to pursue, the program helps them identify areas of interest and provides guidance towards relevant internship, shadowing, or volunteer opportunities.

“Students may be surprised to learn that health science professionals work in numerous settings, including medical research, public health, health care administration, clinical lab management, health education, and pharmaceutical sales,” Chavez says. “There are vast careers that offer excellent starting salaries and benefits, work-life balance, and, most importantly, directly impact our communities.”

By creating a bridge between students’ academic knowledge and practical application, the program equips students to excel both during their time at KU and in their professional lives after graduation. The result? A more diverse and equitable workforce.

Learn more about the STEM Forward Scholars program.

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