Many science retention programs focus on remediation. Because science and math are viewed as disciplines in which knowledge builds upon itself, the traditional guiding philosophy has been to offer content-focused summer bridge classes and seminars in STEM disciplines.
At Brandeis, we decided to focus on introducing students to the culture of college-level science. We expose Science Posse Scholars to the following key experiences: frequent assignments with rigid deadlines, college-level science exams, multi-hour lab experiments, graded lab reports, competition associated with grading on a curve, evaluating scientific literature, and giving a poster presentation to graduate students and faculty. Each of these experiences replicates challenges that students in STEM disciplines face in college.
By helping students understand the norms and culture of the science classroom, the pre-collegiate training better prepares Science Posse Scholars for the rigors of studying science when they begin their college career. After this program, they are more likely to externalize the inevitable setbacks that all science students encounter, rather than internalize feelings of academic self-doubt. In essence, by acculturating Science Posse Scholars, we fortify their ability to navigate challenges. Science Posse Scholars are less likely to describe their academic success simply as a reflection of their grades. Instead, they understand their success in terms of what they have gained both personally and academically throughout their undergraduate experience.