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Initiative for Transforming and Sustaining Science ITSSTEM Research
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (ITSSTEM)is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program designed to increase the number of students successfully completing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at NCCU.  ITSSTEM is a NSF sponsored program for minority and/or underrepresented students.  Through the sponsorship of the NSF, NCCU will prepare students for a successful, comprehensive, university experience and a future career in a STEM related field.

The goal of ITSSTEM is to develop, implement, evaluate, and institutionalize a program that will achieve and sustain a high quality and competitive STEM program at NCCU.  The nidus of our program is a collaborative venture between the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Environmental, Earth & Geospatial Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Science, and Physics at NCCU and neighboring academic and corporate partners. 

Benefits of Being a Participant

As a participant in the ITSSTEM program, students are given the opportunity to:

Six-Week Summer Enrichment Program

Students will live in dormitories under the supervision of qualified residential advisors who provide guidance, social, cultural, and academic activities. Students will be required to remain on campus for the entire six weeks of the program. No exceptions will be made to this requirement.

NCCU operates within the statewide guidelines regarding curfews, social interaction, sign-outs and visitors. No cars are allowed on campus during the summer program. Smoking, drugs or alcohol are strictly prohibited. Students who do not adhere to regulations or who do not take advantage of the academic opportunities offered by the program will be dismissed, and the laptops will be returned to the ITSSTEM Program Manager.

Undergraduate Training and Research Experience

Students work with NCCU Mentors and Mentors in the surrounding Research Triangle Park (RTP) area to enhance their knowledge and skills in the STEM research areas. During the Summer of 2007, 15 ITSSTEM Student Researchers worked with NCCU Mentors on various research projects. During the spring 2008 Semester, 18 ITSSTEM Student Researchers worked with NCCU Mentors.

ITSSTEM Students are encouraged to develop research skills, offering their results for publication in local, state and national undergraduate research journals.

Curriculum Enhancement

Includes the development of new courses in electronics, bioinformatics, mathematics, and environment and earth sciences. It also involves infusing research and technology in teaching STEM areas. A critical thinking model for involving students in strengthening their ability to transfer and apply knowledge from lectures to laboratory experiences and from first year gatekeeper courses to upper level STEM courses has been developed. Science research support programs such as Minority access to Research Careers (MARC), Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science and Math (LSAMP), Julius L. Chambers Biotechnology Biomedical Research Institute (BBRI) Undergraduate Fellows Program will be coordinated to provide a greater benefit to our students.

Faculty Development

Faculty Development can make a real difference. A leaflet on science education, November 2002 quoted Wright, Horn, and Sanders "teacher effectiveness", more so than class size, classroom heterogeneity, race or socioeconomical level, significantly impacts the performance and learning of students." The future will require employees that are accomplished in moving easily among the many disciplines that will be applied in life sciences companies and cutting-edge research laboratories. Our faculty development component focuses on faculty exchanges, visiting scientists, an e-mentoring network, and a series of professional development workshops. These activities are designed to:

  • Promote Scientific and intellectual exchanges between NCCU STEM faculty and their peers,
  • Enchance faculty research competitiveness and,
  • Support innovations in teaching with emphasis on the transfer applications of knowledge across scientific disciplines.


Partnerships for the STEM areas will assist students in developing research experiences and matriculating successfully through STEM courses. Internships, fellowships and scholarships resulting from these partnerships will better prepare students to navigate their way seamlessly from the university to the career markets of the future.

Currently ITSSTEM has established partnerships with companies, organizations and programs across the nation.  Students have obtained scholarships, internships, co-ops, and research opportunities from these partnerships. 

Criterion for Eligibility

In order to become eligible to become a participant in the ITSSTEM program students must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be a high school senior who has been admitted to NCCU
  • Send a signed letter of intent confirming the student’s decision to enroll starting the fall semester of their first year to the Undergraduate Admission Office
  • Have a completed application to the ITSSTEM program along with a separate official transcript
  • Have demonstrated a strong initiative and drive to participate and excel in science and mathematics courses during their matriculation through high school
  • Have the minimum of:
    • 3.2 cumulative grade point average and
    • 1000 SAT or 21 ACT score.

How to Apply

Admission is limited to incoming freshman who have been accepted into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major at NCCU.

The application is made up of two forms: application form and evaluation form.  The application is to be filled out by the student and the evaluation form should be filled out by the applicant's high school STEM teacher and/or guidance counselor.

After your application has been accepted and you meet the initial requirements, you will be required to participate in a face-to-face interview on the NCCU campus.

Contact Information

Calvin D. Coleman
Program Manager and
Instructional Technology & BANNER Specialist
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street
240 Alexander-Dunn Building
Durham, NC 27707
Phone: 919-530-6759
Fax: 919-530-5230