STEM Nexus: Connecting Massachusetts' STEM Community

STEM Starter Academy

"Jack reports his averages to me every day and he's done very well. I'm not exaggerating when I say it really set him up for success academically and emotionally for the fall! You folks should all be very proud of the impact you have on these kids!”

- Father of a STEM Starter Academy student at Mt. Wachusett Community College

The STEM Starter Academy is an initiative of Massachusetts community college 15 campus system to inform, engage, recruit, retain and graduate significantly more students through STEM Pathway programs leading to job placement or transfer to university STEM programs and careers. Championed by Speaker Robert DeLeo, the STEM Starter Academy initiative complements and extends curriculum pathway programs on our campuses that are aligned to competency expectations of employers in high-demand STEM fields and others.

Funding for the initiative supports outreach to prospective students who previously may not have considered STEM careers, exploratory courses and activities that inform students of exciting and rewarding career opportunities in STEM fields, summer bridge programs that prepare incoming students for success in rigorous STEM coursework, and an array of support services to ensure student retention leading to higher rates of program completion.

The STEM Starter Academy will support best practices of existing community college projects currently underway while helping to build these programs into an aligned system of student support services/activities that complements emerging models of structured STEM curriculum pathways. These programs will benefit students who have a high level of interest in STEM majors and careers, but who are not yet fully engaged. This framework of articulated student supports and complementary curriculum pathways will provide a model for student success that is easily recognized and highly valued for predictable outcomes.

Student Success Model

Many, if not all, campuses have implemented elements of a framework to inform, recruit, retain and graduate more students in STEM programs. However, the STEM Starter Academy will help to address gaps, promote alignment and build capacity to meet unaddressed student needs and to refine the model of articulated student support services and structured STEM curriculum that will promote:

  1. Increased student awareness of and access to STEM programs of study and career opportunities,
  2. Enhanced student readiness for and recruiting into STEM pathway programs,
  3. Improved student retention based on academic success and overcoming “life barriers,”
  4. Increased completion through award of certificates or degrees and pathways to STEM jobs or transfer to higher level STEM academic programs.


PDF STEM Starter Academy: A Unified Approach to Building Capacity


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This website is supported by the STEM Pipeline Fund, a state trust account administered by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to support STEM initiatives.