YVC-CWU joint STEM article published in national scientific journal

YAKIMA, Wash — An article written in collaboration between Central Washington University (CWU) and Yakima Valley College (YVC) faculty members recently appeared in a national scientific journal.

Published in the spring edition of Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research (SPUR)the article looks at the importance of community college-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) research programs. 

It draws from five years worth of data and observations from YVC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).

“This article does not bring us more money, and it doesn’t bring promotions or anything like that,” co-author and YVC biology professor Matthew Loeser said. “What it does do is it tells the national audience that, as a community college, YVC is actively involved in undergraduate research and supporting students in ways that are less common for a two-year college and more common for a university or a four-year institution.”

The YVC SURE program is for students with minimal time and resources to conduct intensive year-long research projects. Faculty develop hands-on condensed projects that require students to commit only 120 hours of work throughout the summer.  

“The article was to gain insight into what students are gleaning from the program,” YVC STEM Academic Intervention Coordinator Cristy Rasmussen said. “We learned from that is that we’re seeing from the participants higher retention, graduation and enrollment rates.”

According to Rasmussen, through the school’s SURE partnership with CWU, students can connect with the university’s faculty before they transfer. 

Another byproduct is more funding opportunities. Over the past few years, YVC has been able to secure grants for their SURE program from the National Science Foundation. 

According to Loeser, NSF grants for community college programs like YVC SURC are hard to come by. But their partnership with CWU makes it possible.

“By having the connection to work with them, it just created so many more opportunities for our students,” Loeser said.