First2 Network (First2) is a statewide program geared towards improving the entry, persistence, and success of rural, first-generation science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. The goal of First2 is to double the number of STEM graduates in the state of West Virginia. In September 2018, First2 received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discovers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) award of $7.15 million for the next 5 years. First2 is one of only five NSF INCLUDES alliances funded nationwide. This funding, coordinated through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) Division of Science & Research allows us to develop a statewide network of innovative stakeholders who are working to make a collective impact on the enrollment and retention rates of our STEM students. As members of First2, students become agents of change and are empowered to be co-creators of the solutions to STEM persistence.
The First2 Network brings together a growing number of organizations representing higher education institutions, K-12 education, federally funded research labs, and industry associations aimed at improving the graduation rate of undergraduate STEM students with emphasis on rural, first-generation students through their first 2 years of college. The First2 Network's shared vision is to:
- Double the number of STEM graduates from (30% to 60%) in West Virginia within 10 years
- Complete a comprehensive research study to advance understanding of the factors affecting rural first-generation students entry into and persistence in STEM career pathways
- Build a collaborative culture that results in a sustainable, long-lived improvement network
- Create a model program for other EPSCoR states and expand our Network to 2 additional EPSCoR states within 5 years
WVHEPC Division of Science and Research
West Virginia University
West Virginia State University
Health Sciences and Technology Academy at West Virginia University
Green Banks Observatory
High Rocks Educational Corporation
West Virginia Department of Education STEM Council
To learn more about First2 Network, please visit our website at https://first2network.org.
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NSF INCLUDES Alliance:
Expanding the First2 STEM Success Network.
- Award Number: HRD-1834595; Principal Investigator: Sarah Riley; High Rocks Educational Corporation.
- Award Number: HRD-1834586; Principal Investigator: Juliana Serafin; Higher Education Policy Commission.
- Award Number: HRD-1834601; Principal Investigator: Sue Ann Heatherly; Associated Universities Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
- Award Number:HRD-1834575; Principal Investigator: Erica Harvey; Fairmont State University.
- Award Number: HRD-1834569; Principal Investigator: Gay Stewart; Co-Principal Investigators: Roxann Humbert, John Stewart, Marjorie Darrah, West Virginia University
If you would like to partner with First2 and help make an impact on STEM persistence in the state of West Virginia, please contact the First2 Program Coordinator, Jade Irving at firstname.lastname@example.org.