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Natural Sciences & Mathematics

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Natural Sciences & Mathematics

All Things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics)

The Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics is on the forefront of STEM at DU, boasting the largest concentration of STEM students and faculty on campus. Over the past decade, the number of DU students electing to major in math and science has nearly doubled. Our students are hardworking, intellectually curious, and socially engaged. They collaborate side-by-side with faculty who serve as distinguished researchers and dedicated mentors. In all of NSM's programs, we incorporate the university's Inclusive Excellence values, engaging our community's rich diversity of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Our goal is to make IE an embedded habit that is practiced consistently throughout the Division.

Find a sampling of our STEM initiatives.

Natural Sciences & Mathematics Student Services

Three different programs geared toward helping students enhance personal, academic, and professional growth are housed under NSM student services: NSMentoring: Face2Face, Navigating NSM, and Launching with NSM.

These services are unique in that they facilitate the success of students holistically, by focusing on success both inside and outside the classroom. Studies have shown that engaging students outside the classroom helps retention in academic programs.

A mentoring program for first-year students, NSMentoring: Face2Face helps underrepresented students transition to life as science and math majors at DU through connection with peer and faculty mentors. In particular, it aims to increase retention of underrepresented students in the Division.

A mentoring program for upper-class students, Navigating NSM provides resources for sustained academic success and career exploration. Mentors come from a variety of different backgrounds, with many different academic, professional, and social interests, allowing them to share advice and experiences with mentees from their own personal and professional journeys.

NSMentoring and Navigating NSM are unique from other student mentoring initiatives in that they facilitate one-on-one dynamics in which faculty mentors serve not merely as advisors, but as coaches and guides who can offer advice on adjusting to the academic rigor and social environment of DU. Studies show that developing one-on-one relationships with accomplished members of related fields of interest helps students navigate coursework and develop strategies for academic and social success.

Launching with NSM offers opportunities for all students in the Division to enhance professional growth through sessions that focus on career exploration, resume building, and connecting with alumni and other campus resources.

For more information about these programs, contact Molly Durava, NSM's Inclusive Excellence Fellow.

E-STEM: Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Our newest academic program, E-STEM (Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) aims to nurture the strengths of incoming undergraduates from historically underrepresented backgrounds who elect to major in STEM subjects, helping them successfully transition to the college environment and navigate STEM paths at DU.

E-STEM is possible through a partnership between the Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science, and Center for Multicultural Excellence. The program provides social and cultural support and mentorship and fosters personal growth, encouraging students to develop academic success strategies and pursue research opportunities.

Students participate in a pre-collegiate summer orientation, E-STEM Summer Bridge, held prior to the university's Discoveries Orientation. During this orientation, they connect with other incoming students and peer mentors, meet STEM faculty and graduate students, and participate in activities and workshops designed to help them transition from high school to college life. By moving into their housing assignments early, students have time to explore campus and visit downtown Denver.

During the first year, E-STEM participants attend weekly seminars by STEM faculty and staff, explore STEM careers, and network with faculty, industry professionals, and other students. They also explore issues of equality and diversity within STEM fields. Academic Excellence Workshops (AEWs), held weekly, allow them to utilize collaborative learning and teaching methods to develop the academic success strategies and study skills that are necessary to succeed in STEM subjects at DU.

E-STEM also introduces students to research and internship opportunities and helps them develop skills and resumes for graduate school and STEM careers.

For more information, contact Anthea Johnson Rooen, Director of E-STEM Program.

Math|Culture|Environment Academy (M|C|E) - Denver: Scaffolding STEM Mentorship for Native Youth

An academic outreach and mentoring program, M|C|E serves Native American youth. Originally launched in Boston, the program helps participants succeed in the classroom and beyond by connecting academic curriculum to Native knowledge and practices.

In collaboration with the Jeffco Public Schools Indian Education Program, DU launched M|C|E in Denver. According to the 2010 Census Bureau, approximately 56,000 people who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native alone live in Colorado, the vast majority living in Denver metro and Colorado Springs. When Coloradoans who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native in combination with one or more races are included, the number rises to more than 100,000.

M|C|E offers Native American youth culturally-relevant exposure to STEM methodologies and university culture. The program includes a mathematics-focused summer camp for local Native American high school students, with DU undergrads serving as mentors. During the school year, DU undergraduates run monthly labs on math, culture, and environment in local elementary schools, along with participating in activities such as plant walks and visits to Chamberlin Observatory.

For more information, contact Professor Sophia Cisneros.

Health Professions Highway: Creating a Self-Sustaining, Culturally Diverse Pipeline to Develop Future Healthcare Professionals

Health Professions Highway invites secondary school students from underserved communities in Denver and Aurora to DU for a week-long immersion in the health professions. The program is a collaboration between the Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics and CollegeTrack – Aurora, whose mission is to empower students from underserved communities to graduate college.

As part of the program, students participate in a variety of activities that expose them to career paths in healthcare and equip them with tools and strategies to pursue these opportunities. This includes networking with health professionals, participating in a college lecture and lab session, visiting a local hospital, and gaining valuable insight into navigating the college application and financial aid processes. At a capstone event, students present posters on health research projects to their peers and families.

In order to experience life on a college campus, participants live in DU's residence halls during the program. Undergraduates with demonstrated interests in health professions serve as mentors, building their own knowledge of healthcare while developing leadership skills.

Health Professions Highway is part of a larger initiative at DU to both develop student potential in health professions as well as partner with healthcare organizations in the Denver community. Last year, the university's Pre-Professional/Allied Health Advising Center hosted Health Disparities in Denver, a two-day immersion program for undergraduate pre-health students to learn about the social determinants of health and health disparities.

Learn more about the 2017 program: Local Teens Come to DU For Week-Long Immersion in Health Professions

For more information, contact Professor Barb Hurtt or Professor Nancy Lorenzon

SciTech Science Camp

The SciTech Science Camp is held each summer on campus for underrepresented middle-school girls from the Denver area. Taught by faculty and graduate students from DU and Regis University, the camp engages girls in STEM-related activities ranging from writing computer code to building circuits and investigating insects.

SciTech aims to bolster girls' interest in STEM fields at a critical time, as research shows that many girls, and especially girls of color, lose interest in STEM in high school due to socialization, lack of exposure, or absence of role models. The camp exposes girls to female scientists and creates positive experiences around STEM subjects. At a capstone reception, participants present posters and demonstrations to their peers and parents. The camp includes follow-up activities with participants during the subsequent school year.

SciTech is a collaboration between the Division of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Denver Public Schools, and Regis University. The camp is free for all participants.

Learn more: Science and Fun: DU hosts summer camp for middle school girls

For more information, contact Professor Robin Tinghitella or Professor Shannon Murphy