Verizon Foundation Grant to Aid Students in STEM Courses

Posted: February 28, 2017

A grant from the Verizon Foundation will help create a new program designed to help students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors at a critical time in their academic careers.

The program, called STEM-PAL (peer advisor leaders) is an initiative of the Gannon University STEM Center and Academic Advising Center, in partnership with specific academic departments, which provides support for specific majors and programs through the use of peer advisors.

The initiative is particularly targeted toward majors and programs that show higher rates of attrition. When students begin to encounter difficulties navigating these challenges alone, they are at risk of dropping or failing courses, or worse yet-withdrawing from college completely.

To give them help in these critical programs, peer advisors step in. They will be juniors and seniors who have demonstrated a high level of success in their respective academic programs, who in turn will be empowered to reach out to freshmen to help guide them through academic difficulties and help orient them to the University in general.

Peer advisors help motivated students overcome the challenges that come with college level learning through a strong support system that reinforces good study habits and includes strong academic advisement and peer and/or professional tutoring.

"Through the STEM-PAL program, peer tutors reach out at key points in the semester for first-year students to acclimate them to the path," said Adam Nogaj, director of the STEM Center. "By creating this initiative, we predict greater student success in STEM majors, increased retention, increased graduation and increased career preparedness."