The FSU OPTIMUM program is sponsored by the Nation Science Foundation to provide challenging academic curricula and enrichment opportunities that would encourage and enable minority students to complete baccalaureate degrees in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Math and to enter the STEM workforce.
The OPTIMUM program will collaborate with the University College, the FIRST
STEP program, Educational Talent Search, the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), Upward Bound, the Creating Higher Expectations for Educational Readiness (CHEER) Program, the North Carolina Math and Science Education Network (NC-MSEN) Pre-College Program, and the Honors Program.
The OPTIMUM program will draw students from this bridge programs by conducting a series of STEM oriented career workshops. Students will be encouraged through intensive promotion and career advisement to consider STEM fields.
Students participating in the program will be groomed to compete at local and/or regional math/science competitions, as well as present their project at STEM symposia hosted by FSU. Tasks for the activity will include 1) annual competition for high schools students 2) open house and awards ceremony 3) invite participation of local STEM organizations, parents, and guidance 4) solicit support from local STEM organizations 5) assisting high school students with their research projects 6)providing math and science teachers with courses materials and online resources.
Students will participate in more intense, individualized, mentored student/faculty research projects in biology, physics, math, computer science, and chemistry. Each scholar will be assigned to a faculty research mentor who is engaged in conducting research in an area related to the scholar's major area of interest. Scholars and research mentors will develop a research project and a work agreement detailing the expected time that the scholar will dedicate to conducting the project.
In addition, scholars will be required to present their research at the OPTIMUM Student Exposition and Luncheon that will be held annually on the FSU campus. Scholars will be provided with opportunities to present their research at other professional conferences.
OPTIMUM scholars would be presented with internships, undergraduate research and career opportunities. In particular, scholars would be strongly encouraged to participate in internships at local STEM enterprises to expose them to mentorship provided by STEM professionals. They would also be able to earn semester course credits by using their participation in research-oriented internships to fulfill the professional CO-OP course requirements in the disciplines.