Community College S-STEM Network (CCSN) – An Endeavor to Develop and Share Research on Academically Talented Low-Income STEM Student Decision-Making and Pathways
Monday, Oct 10, 2022

Researchers at SMLR's Education and Employment Research Center (EERC) are part of the Community College S-STEM Network (CCSN), a new 5-year National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM Research Hub dedicated to generating and sharing research to promote the academic and professional success of scholastically-talented, low-income community college (CC) students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The CCSN is a network of community college researchers and practitioners supported by a pair of grants from the NSF, to Rutgers University (grant no. DUE 2224623 for $2,879,267) to lead research efforts along with partners at the University of Washington and the University of Southern Florida and one to the Foundation for California Community Colleges (grant no. DUE 2224671 for $120,538) to lead the team’s networking building efforts. Other key partners include Everett Community College, Ivy Tech Community College, Polk State College, Hope College, Bragg & Associates, and MN Associates.

The focal point of investigation by the CCSN team is to advance the understanding of processes and mechanisms underlying decision making on the part of the students. Through bilateral sharing of information between the CCSN team and STEM education practitioners in CCs, the research efforts will be guided by current activities in CC S-STEM programs, and insights revealed through the work of the CCSN will be broadly disseminated to practitioners in CCs to support their STEM majors.

Three primary objectives of the CCSN are: (1) To establish and engage with a network of individuals and institutions to frame current issues associated with the education of low-income STEM majors in CCs and identify specific areas of research focus; (2) To undertake research on CC S-STEM programs to produce evidence and instruments to be shared with practitioners and researchers; and (3) To increase educational and social science research capacity within CC personnel, especially STEM faculty members.

Activities to be undertaken by the CCSN team to address these objectives include:

  • Convening leadership groups, network building, conducting workshops to support CCs to prepare and submit competitive S-STEM grant proposals, offering research-to-practice clinics, and conducting dissemination of research findings on community college S-STEM.
  • Conducting surveys for both CC S-STEM grantees and S-STEM Scholars, executing a systematic review of S-STEM programs that include CCs, and generating case studies of exemplars.
  • Establishing collaborative research partnerships with CC personnel and furnishing opportunities to participate in a CC research fellows program.

For more information, contact Michelle Van Noy (PI, Rutgers) and/or David Brown (PI, Foundation for California Community Colleges). To learn more and become part of the CCSN, visit

This material is based upon work that will be supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DUE 2224623 and DUE 2224671. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.