Undergraduate Research

STRONG: Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation

STRONG Scholar Hibatullah Shaalan '25 working in Professor Zeb Page's Geology Lab.
Associate Professor of Geology Zeb Page and Hibatullah Shaalan '25 at the controls of the VEGA3 Scanning Electron Microscope.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Research and innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) provide enormous contributions to our understanding of the world and offer advancements in health, technology, interactions with the environment, etc. However, some identities are drastically underrepresented in STEM at the undergraduate stage and beyond. This dearth in diversity impedes the advancement of scientific knowledge and contributes to disparities and injustices in the population. The STRONG program (Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation) represents Oberlin College’s commitment to increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce. The STRONG program is intended for talented students from underrepresented backgrounds with a clear dedication to STEM. STRONG scholars will participate in a specialized first-year experience designed to help them adapt to college and thrive in their STEM journey at Oberlin and beyond. Key components of this first-year experience are early research opportunities, close mentoring from STEM faculty and staff, community building amongst other STRONG scholars, and academic skill-building pertinent to STEM courses.


Benefits of STRONG

  • STRONG Scholars get a head start on settling in and making connections with the people on campus who will be there to support them throughout their years at Oberlin. Relationships with the students, professors, and staff members whom Scholars meet through STRONG form an important foundation of support for academic and personal success during their time in college.
  • STRONG scholars have early access to research experiences during their first year at Oberlin
  • STRONG scholars receive close mentoring from STEM faculty, staff, and peers
  • STRONG scholars receive a specialized first-year curriculum designed to advance knowledge and skills in STEM
  • STRONG scholars persist in STEM: 90% of the original cohort graduated with STEM majors compared to the 44% persistence rate for underrepresented and racial minorities (URMs) at Oberlin
  • STRONG scholars excel in research beyond their first year: Many STRONG scholars continue their research at Oberlin and R1 institutions, present their research at regional and national conferences, and win awards for their research involvement
  • STRONG scholars are leaders at Oberlin: Many STRONG scholars have developed into leaders on campus both within the STEM community and the larger Oberlin community. STRONG scholars have served as co-chairs for Oberlin’s Black Scientist Guild (BSG), worked to bring URM speakers to Oberlin, organized groups of students to attend conferences for URM scientists, served on Oberlin’s Student Senate, and served on Oberlin’s Board of Trustees as the Class Trustee.

The STRONG Affiliate Program

The STRONG Affiliate program was launched in 2023 to broaden the reach and impact of the STRONG program by increasing the size of our first year cohort. STRONG Affiliates enjoy the same opportunities for early access to research, close faculty mentorship, and community building opportunities as all STRONG scholars. STRONG Affiliates participate in pre-orientation programming, the STRONG Winter Term, are matched with a faculty mentor, attend community events, and particiapte in peer mentor networks. STRONG Affiliates do not participate in the STRONG First Year Seminar and are not eligible for STRONG's need-based stipend.