This spring, 25 talented Connecticut eighth-graders will be selected for scholarships enabling them to take a college-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) course for credit but at no cost, while attending high school.
The UConn School of Engineering and the Connecticut Invention Convention have teamed up to launch a new scholarship initiative that will sponsor these students as they take courses through UConn’s Early College Experience (ECE).
The UConn ECE is intended to bridge the educational gap between high school and college, enhancing the transition for students who intend to pursue a college education. UConn’s ECE is the nation’s longest running concurrent enrollment program. The ECE program allows more students to enter college better prepared and with advanced standing. To qualify as ECE instructors, teachers must be certified by UConn as adjunct faculty members.
The new scholarship initiative will target top eighth-grade student inventors who are participating in the annual Connecticut Invention Convention at UConn. One ECE course will be available to scholarship awardees once the students begin their high school careers, earning them both high school and college credit for successful completion of the course.
Marty Wood, assistant dean for undergraduate education and diversity, says, “Hopefully, this initiative will motivate high school students to take a college-level course in the STEM fields and spark an interest that had not been nurtured. The bottom line is we want more students entering the STEM college pipeline.”
The Connecticut Invention Convention is the oldest continuously running children’s invention convention in the nation. Over 100 schools and 8,000-11,000 students in grades K-8 participate each year in the convention, which centers on a standards-based curriculum. School-level competitions result in the selection of approximately 600 student inventors who advance to the state-wide convention held at the Storrs campus each spring. In developing their inventive ideas, students are trained to identify a problem in their environment, thoroughly research and analyze it, devise possible solutions, and build an actual working prototype. Since the organization’s founding, an estimated 250,000 children have participated in Connecticut Invention Convention programs.