Becoming a successful STEM student

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The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) have continued to rise in popularity and importance and provide students with critical thinking, problem solving and creative skills that will establish a solid base for their desired career path. UConn offers a wide variety of majors within the fields of STEM that allow students to find their niche.  

UConn offers many resources that can be especially beneficial to STEM students. The Academic Achievement Center (AAC) hosts a “Success in STEM” workshop that provides students with various study strategies in addition to an in-depth look at the resources available to help students who want to achieve success in a STEM field.   

The AAC has a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program with sessions that are held at various times throughout the day. SI gives students the ability to work in small, collaborative groups to review lecture material, course readings and assignments. These sessions are taught by UConn students and are focused on notoriously difficult courses like Biology 1107 and Chemistry 1122.  

“It’s people that understand the stresses that students are going through and can relate. They explain the material so that it is more digestible,” Dylan Feldmeier, a UConn alum and a current SI who holds a dual degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, said.  

SI is a great resource for all STEM students, especially those who have online classes and want to engage with the material on a more detailed level. These sessions can also provide helpful study tips that can make you see the material from a different point of view.  

“Creating concept maps allows you to engage more actively with the material. Even if you aren’t a visual learner, it will allow you to see something from a different perspective,” Feldmeier said.   

Success starts in the classroom but is fully achieved once you take advantage of the multitude of opportunities available outside of the classroom.  

The Academic Achievement Center (AAC) hosts a “Success in STEM” workshop that provides students with various study strategies in addition to an in-depth look at the resources available to help students who want to achieve success in a STEM field. File photo of when the Academic Achievement Center ran a workshop to help students improve skills in Jan. 2017. File Photo / The Daily Campus.

“There is way more to the world of STEM than taking math or science classes. On-campus research is a great way to start,” Feldmeier said. “I think it’s about taking chances and seeing what’s out there.” 

Visiting department websites will give you information on the research that professors are currently working on. Their contact information is listed and gives students the ability to get involved in undergraduate research and lab work, which looks great on a resume.  

UConn also offers Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) grants that support full-time UConn undergraduate students in summer research or creative projects under the supervision of a faculty member.  

Attending a professor’s office hours is another way to be proactive outside of class time and foster a positive relationship with your professors. By demonstrating that you care about the course and the material that is being taught, it could lead you to undergraduate research opportunities, which are very important in the field of STEM.  

Whether you choose to attend office hours, begin working in a lab or get help through SI, UConn has so many resources available to help STEM students succeed. Above all else, being curious and genuinely interested in your field and major will provide a solid foundation for academic success.   

“Always be participating in any way that you can, even if you are not fully confident. Any participation is better than none. It will help you build confidence and be successful as a scientist,” Feldmeier said. 

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