About

FAQs

What is USF-HHMI STEM Academy?
STEM Academy is a one-week enrichment program for new incoming first-year students who are pursuing a STEM degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Are Engineering majors eligible to apply for the STEM Academy?
No. The program is for STEM majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. In future years the program may be open to first-year engineering students.

Who can apply for STEM Academy?
STEM Academy is for incoming first-year students (freshmen) on the USF-Tampa campus who are committed to the STEM majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. This includes the following majors: Biomedical Sciences (Chemistry Dept.), Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMMB Dept), Chemistry/Biochemistry, Environmental Biology (IB Dept), Environmental Microbiology (IB Dept), Environmental Sciences, Geology/Geosciences, Integrated Animal Biology (IB Dept), Marine Biology (IB Dept), Mathematics, Microbiology (CMMB Dept), Physics, and Statistics.

What does STEM Academy cost?
There is no charge for STEM Academy thanks to a generous grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

When is STEM Academy held?
The STEM Academy is held the week prior to the start of classes. It begins the afternoon of Sunday, August 13, and leads right into the Week of Welcome activities that begin Friday, August 18. STEM Academy Scholars will move into their assigned residence hall and will occupy the room they will have for the Fall/Spring semesters on Sunday, August 13, before other students arrive on campus.

What is the Time Commitment for the STEM Academy?
The STEM Academy is an intensive full-time academic engagement program during August 13-18. Scholars work individually AND in teams and are REQUIRED to attend all sessions that are broken into three modules: morning (9:00-12:00), afternoon (1:45-4:45) and evening (7:00-9:30) sessions. Admitted Scholars are expected to arrive on campus ready to engage in the program and may also have exercises/assignments that need to be completed before arriving on campus. This is not boring lectures either. It is engaged and active sessions where Scholars will often work in teams to solve problems. Scholars will also have to write and journal about their progress and provide oral reflections to the group to stimulate discussions.

View the STEM Academy schedule.

Where is STEM Academy?
STEM Academy will take place at various locations on the USF-Tampa campus. (USF Library, ISA Building, College of Education classrooms, etc). There is no programming in the residence halls, so Scholars can reside in any of the halls on campus. All Scholars will be provided detailed maps and schedules to assure they know where the programming will be offered each day.

Do STEM Academy Scholars Receive Academic Credit?
No! The STEM Academy is a preparatory program where students have the ability to try out and demo various exercises/activities BEFORE its counts for credit. This is a major advantage to the program. STEM Academy Scholars will be highly prepared to face the rigors of their first classes and will also have the added benefit of the relationships and connections they made during the Academy, so they will be in classes with their STEM Academy colleagues!

Who is involved with running STEM Academy?
The USF-HHMI STEM Academy is directed by Dr. Richard S. Pollenz. Dr. Pollenz is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Associate Dean in Undergraduate Studies and also the Director of the Office for Undergraduate Research. Dr. Pollenz has extensive experience in managing student engagement programs. His academic and administrative team includes USF professors and instructors as well as graduate and undergraduate peer mentors who are chosen specifically for the Academy based on their high level of commitment to student success.

What happens at STEM Academy?
During the week-long STEM Academy, Scholars will engage in a full schedule of engaged, hands-on activities in morning (9:00-12:00), afternoon (1:45-4:45) and evening (7:00-9:30) sessions. Many sessions are scheduled in a small group setting and the schedule is filled with opportunities for personalized engagement with graduate students, peer mentors, professors and experts. Scholars will receive workshops and hands-on training. The Scholars will get to try out a laboratory exercises and math problems in a small group setting that are similar to those they will experience in the first year of college. Scholars will receive training in the USF SMART Lab that includes: sample math exercises, writing coaching, study skills training and information in how to market themselves for research and career opportunities. Scholars will visit various STEM research labs and centers to engage with research professionals. Finally, Scholars will receive personalized attention from STEM academy staff, faculty, graduate student mentors and undergraduate peers that will create community and a connection to the university. Scholars are REQUIRED to attend all sessions and commit to the full program. View the STEM Academy schedule.

What is a Living Learning Community?
The STEM Academy Living Learning Community (LLC) is a stimulating living learning environment that is created to meet the needs of incoming first-year Scholars interested in various science, technology, engineering, and math areas. The goals of the STEM LLC are to assist Scholars in achieving academic and personal success, fostering university and STEM field retention, and also supporting the expansion of the nation's STEM workforce by equipping graduates to assume positions in industry, the academy, and beyond. The STEM Academy LLC provides bi-weekly out-of-class activities designed to get Scholars more engaged in the learning process and to help them further develop a sense of community with their peers. The STEM Academy LLC will be in the Cypress B residence hall. Scholars accepted to the STEM Academy can apply to STEM Academy LLC and it is caped at 80 Scholars for 2017.

How do I apply for the STEM LLC?
Scholars interested in participating in the STEM LLC must select this as an option when COMPLETING THE USF HOUSING APPLICATION. Scholars accepted to the LLC will get notified of their placement in the LLC to their USF EMAIL account.

Do I have to attend a USF orientation before the start of the STEM Academy?
YES! All STEM Academy Scholars must attend one of the June or July First-Year orientation sessions. The dates, times and fees for orientation may be found here: http://www.usf.edu/orientation/fys/fees.aspx. Since the STEM Academy program runs August 13-18, STEM Academy Scholars may NOT attend the last orientation sessions held in August.

Where will my notifications about the STEM Academy go?
Once accepted to the STEM Academy, Scholars MUST REGULARLY check their USF email accounts as all official messages and notifications will go through this secure system. To avoid missing out on important deadlines and requests for information, all Scholars should check their accounts often.