Grace Kovic ’21 has always loved math. But it wasn’t until her junior year in high school that she realized she also had a particular interest in sciences that involved applied mathematics, such as physics and chemistry.
That blend of skills and interests made Kovic a perfect candidate for Connecticut College’s Science Leaders Program, which has just received a 2019 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“The Science Leaders program has offered me some amazing opportunities, and the individualized support STEM students get at Conn is unique,” Kovic said.
Kovic also participated in the College’s Summer Science Research Institute the past two years, an intensive experience she said is rare for an undergraduate.
“It’s been a huge privilege to work so closely with professors to design new experiments to support their current research, but to also have the freedom to work independently” Kovic added.
The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Connecticut College will be featured with 49 other recipients in the September issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Designed to increase the number of women and underrepresented students graduating with a degree and research experiences in the sciences, the Science Leaders program fosters a passion for science through applied research, intensive one-on-one faculty and peer mentoring, career counseling and assistance applying to graduate school. Upon acceptance to Conn, students enter the program with a cohort of fellow first-year peers, all of whom share a common faculty adviser and first-year seminar, which culminates with hands-on research.
“This approach creates a supportive network of science professionals, graduate and undergraduate students that grows and strengthens organically,” said Marc Zimmer, Jean C. Tempel ’65 Professor of Chemistry and chair of the chemistry department.
Since 2007, 104 students have entered Connecticut College as Science Leaders, an average of approximately 15 students per year. The six-year graduation rate for Science Leaders is 97 percent. As of Spring 2019, Science Leaders have obtained six medical degrees, one doctorate, eight master’s degrees in STEM fields and six other graduate degrees.
“The program has become increasingly important and relevant, and it is one of the most rewarding facets of my job,” said Zimmer.