Research Action for Transfer Students

5% of $18,000 goal
This campaign ended on December 17, 2021, but you can still make a gift to William & Mary by clicking here!

Agency: William & Mary (BOV)
Type: Expendable
Fund Name: Research Action for Transfer Students (RAFTS)
Fund Purpose: To provide support for the Research Action for Transfer Students (RAFTS) program at William & Mary.
Fund Administrator: Director, Charles Center

Transfer students face unique challenges when they arrive on campus. They must quickly adapt to the W&M academic culture and student ethos while establishing themselves as independent thinkers and members of our community. For transfer students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, securing meaningful research experience poses a significant additional challenge because it can be difficult for students new to the College to identify a mentor who aligns with their research interests and can accommodate a new student arriving in the Fall term of sophomore or junior year. Because faculty-directed research experiences play such a critical role in STEM education and in student’s preparation for graduate school, this places STEM transfer students at a particular disadvantage, both while at W&M and after graduating.

The proposed initiative seeks funding to enhance our capacity to engage transfer students in research and develop a program to facilitate their transition to W&M beginning even before they arrive on campus in the Fall semester. As a pilot initiative, we will limit our focus to transfer students who plan to major in Psychological Sciences or Neuroscience. Specifically, during the summer prior to their first semester of on-campus classes, students will be paired with a research mentor in their area of interest and will begin work on a research project. This experience will jump-start their training so that they are involved in the lab’s ongoing research objectives and methods before the beginning of their first semester at W&M. As part of this summer research experience, they will engage in a series of workshops that cover relevant topics such as training in research ethics, approaches to data analysis, scientific writing, conference presentations, empirical article publication, as well as other related topics. 

Our goal is to fully fund 3-5 students for the Research Action For Transfer Students (RAFTS) pilot program. Funding will include a modest summer stipend and a summer housing stipend. The workshops will be available to all transfer students in STEM-identified fields who plan to be in Williamsburg for the summer. As outlined, these goals align particularly well with the Tribefunding initiative as they seek to bring a new initiative, one that will enrich the campus experience for transfer students in STEM disciplines.

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