Undergraduate Research

Award and Program Components

STRONG 2019 poses for a group photo in the lab

Pre-Orientation Program 

STRONG scholars will move into their residences one week before first-year orientation. During this time, scholars will build community with each other and their peer mentors before the other first-years arrive on campus. Additionally, STRONG scholars get a head start on 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. 

Winter Term research project

During winter term, each STRONG scholar will work full time in a research group on a project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. These projects will be specially designed to meet the needs and academic preparation of first-year STEM students. The winter term projects designed for the STRONG program will center students’ learning of research and give them valuable experience. 

Residence in Roots in STEM Living and Learning Community

Social climate and support networks outside the classroom are critical to student persistence in STEM. The “Roots in STEM” living and learning community seeks to address this issue by promoting a sense of belonging and community in STEM amongst underrepresented students. Roots in STEM will offer STRONG scholars a space wherein they can identify as a scientist without losing their connection to their communities and identities. Essentially, this living and learning community will help STRONG scholars grow their “Roots in STEM.”

Participation in a specialized First-Year Seminar

STRONG scholars will be enrolled in a specially designed first-year seminar entitled “Research and Reasoning: The production and application of knowledge in STEM.” This course will examine the research process in STEM including data generation, analysis, graphing, interpretation, and presenting. The course seeks to develop students’ skillsets in quantitative and formal reasoning, reading and critiquing the scientific literature, and oral and written communication. The course description is below:

Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) provides enormous contributions to our understanding of the world and offers advancements in health, technology, interactions with the environment, and many other applications. This course will examine the production and application of knowledge in STEM fields including the research process, methodology, and the ethical conduct of research in various fields. Additionally, students will improve their ability to read and critically evaluate STEM literature, analyze and interpret quantitative data, and communicate in both written and oral forms.

Participation in specially designed PAL cohort

The PAL program and “Introduction to Oberlin Life and Learning” course helps first-year students use Oberlin’s academic and developmental advising system to its full potential and assists students as they: (1) acclimate to college learning, (2) use institutional resources for holistic support, (3) navigate college life, and (4) create an educational pathway that connects past and present curricular and co-curricular experiences to goals for their future. STRONG scholars will participate in a specialized version of this experience that is tailored to the needs of underrepresented students in STEM to best support them as they adjust to life at Oberlin.

On-going peer-mentoring groups

Scholars will meet with peer-mentors in groups of four once per week for the duration of the academic year. These groups will help to develop study skills and habits that are essential for success in STEM such as note taking, studying, test taking, making use of office hours, etc. Additionally, groups will work on more global skills such as time management, organization, and planning. Lastly, peer-mentoring groups will address issues specific to underrepresented students such as imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, and identity formation.

Academic enrichment funds

STRONG scholars are eligible for $1500 to enrich their academic experience during their first two years at Oberlin. Awards are provided to STRONG scholars based on financial need. This money can be used towards textbooks, conference or workshop travel, housing for an off-campus winter term project or internship, etc.