Bridging the Valley: Recruiting and Retaining STEM Majors

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In the face of declining STEM enrollments, four neighboring institutions in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley came together to address the issue of STEM retention on their campuses with support from the National Science Foundation. James Madison University (JMU), Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), and Bridgewater College (BC) undertook a six-year project, with funding from National Science Foundation’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant (DUE-0756838), to enhance student retention in STEM on each campus. The partnership, dubbed Bridging the Valley (BTV), developed a set of interventions designed to actively improve student outcomes. A summer bridge workshop (SBW) and collaborative learning communities (CLC), implemented during the academic year, were two of the most substantive interventions included in the BTV program.