The STEM Summer Bridge Program of STEM Starter Academy at Cape Cod Community College brings together recent high school graduates from the Cape Cod region who are entering 4Cs this fall in a STEM degree.
In the three day program held each year, this year from August 21st - 23rd, STEM Summer Bridge students participated in a variety of activities that helped students build connections, access campus supports, set goals, and jump start their future in STEM. Students attended a career exploration field trip to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Cape Cod Hospital, which were tailor-made for them based on their degree interests.
Funded through STEM Starter Academy, an initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education at each of the 15 community colleges, the STEM Summer Bridge program is in its tenth year at Cape Cod Community College, and has a history of making impact, according to Cape Cod Regional STEM Network Director Bridget Burger, who designs and oversees the program at 4Cs.
"Students coming into 4Cs in STEM degrees benefit not only from the direct support we give through this program, but also through the continued coaching they receive as part of STEM Starter Academy at 4Cs. After coming in through STEM Summer Bridge, these students work with our STEM Success Coach Maura Smith-Stein throughout the year, and she helps them to reach the academic and professional goals they set until they graduate. It is a fantastic program, and every year we see our students in this program achieving retention and completion rates that well exceed the 4Cs rates, and are among the highest of all of the SSA programs in the state. It is a phenomenal program, and we are so grateful to the DHE for funding this program year after year."
STEM faculty and advisors shared with students invaluable insights into potential academic paths, guidance on curriculum choices, and firsthand knowledge from professionals who have paved their way in the STEM fields. Additionally, students had the opportunity of networking with current STEM students, providing a glimpse into life as a STEM scholar.
Equipping the participants with the essential tools to excel in STEM studies was a core focus of the program. Students learned about the practical tools required for success in STEM programs. This holistic approach aimed to empower each student to embark confidently on their educational journey at CCCC.
The program extended its horizons into the real world. A career exploration day, hosted in collaboration with Cape Cod HealthCare and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's AVAST division, offered students a hands-on experience in diverse STEM career paths. This immersive encounter allowed them to witness the practical applications of their studies and envision potential futures in the STEM industry.
The STEM Summer Bridge Program has not only enriched the participants' academic knowledge but has also ignited a spark of inspiration for their future. By providing them with the tools, resources, and exposure to various STEM opportunities, the program has planted the seeds for potential scientists, engineers, health care providers and innovators to bloom. As one participant said,”I did not know that these kinds of jobs existed.”
In exchange for participating in the 1-credit program, students received a tuition stipend of $1000 and a free math or IT course in Fall 2023. Eligible STEM degrees include aviation, computer science, engineering and manufacturing, environmental studies / technology, health sciences (nursing), IT / cybersecurity, mathematics, and science. For more information contact Maura Smith-Stein, SSA STEM Success Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org.