Upper Iowa University organic chemistry students work together during lab with the help of Dr. Erik Olson, UIU professor of chemistry.
FAYETTE, Iowa (August 16, 2013) – Upper Iowa University has established a Science Success Center for students pursuing a variety of STEM-related majors on campus. Services include free science tutoring, faculty and peer mentors, work study positions, and stipends for internships and research experiences, and paid conference fees and travel related to student research, according to Kata McCarville, UIU associate professor of geosciences.
"Students interested in STEM fields and careers will have a place to gather, support each other, and get any help they need with their studies," McCarville added. "The students in this learning community also will benefit from individual advising from UIU faculty members. In cooperation with Sara Sheeley, Assistant Professor of Biology, and other faculty members, this includes pre-professional advising for those students who are preparing for graduate school or getting ready to take their entrance exams for post-graduate professional schools."
Upper Iowa University has received funding for the services from the IINspire Alliance, which is the Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education, through which 16 state, private, and community colleges in the three states work together to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The IINspire Alliance is part of LSAMP, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, which aims to increase the quality and quantity of students successfully completing STEM baccalaureate degree programs, and to increase the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from underrepresented populations. UIU is an active member of the organization, and McCarville serves as the LSAMP Campus Director for UIU, participates on the grant's steering committee and works with the IINSPIRE objective team for community-based recruiting.
"The shortage of people employed in the STEM workforce is a national crisis in the United States," McCarville said. "We are falling behind many other nations because of the limited number of our students who decide to earn math, science, engineering and technology degrees. STEM jobs are the engine that generates new ideas, launches new companies, sustains growth and drives economic sustainability. There is a nationwide effort to turn this situation around by recruiting students who are interested in these degrees, helping them to succeed, and significantly increasing the numbers of workers in STEM fields in our country."
Two-thirds of all STEM jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, McCarville added. STEM majors available at Upper Iowa University include:
- All Science (to be paired with another major such as education)
- Clinical Laboratory Science (3+1 with Mayo Clinic)
- Conservation Management
- Environmental Science
- Forensic Science
- Information Technology
McCarville cites national statistics that indicate graduates of a STEM program can enjoy many lifelong benefits.
- In terms of salary (with a bachelor's degree), all of the top five and 15 of the 20 fastest growing careers are in STEM fields.
- Workers with a STEM degree earn 26 percent more, even if not working in a STEM field.
- Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than women in other occupations.
- All of the top 10 jobs with greatest growth potential are STEM.
- While all jobs are expected to grow by 10.4 percent, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 21.4 percent.
- Growth in STEM jobs is three times as fast as non-STEM jobs.
There is great opportunity for women and minorities within STEM fields, McCarville adds. Nationally, at least 1 million STEM job openings are expected, but only 16 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States are STEM related. There are also disproportionately low numbers of blacks and Hispanics pursuing STEM degrees. African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics comprise 28.5 percent of the U.S. population, but represent only 9.1 percent of college-educated Americans in the STEM workforce. Women account for nearly 50 percent of the college-educated workforce and hold 48 percent of all jobs, but only 24 percent of STEM jobs.
"These students really have a chance to be heroes," McCarville said. "They can respond to a national priority, become leaders in the fields that will create jobs for others and stimulate the national economy – all while gaining careers that are both professionally exciting and personally rewarding."
The Upper Iowa University STEM Support Center, located in Colgrove-Walker Hall, will open when the 2013-14 academic year begins on Monday, August 26. For more information about the STEM degrees at Upper Iowa University, go to www.uiu.edu/stem.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing