“Bridging the Valley: A STEP Ahead for STEM majors” is a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Bridgewater College, Blue Ridge Community College, Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University in the Fall of 2008 to improve retention rates for students wanting to pursue degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The “Bridging the Valley: A STEP Ahead for STEM majors” NSF sponsored grant has been designed to assist students who are interested in majoring in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) but may feel just a little under prepared in their mathematics or science skills to be successful in their first college level Science, Pre-calculus or Calculus course.
During the summers of 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012, in-coming freshman from all four colleges who participated in the program lived on JMU’s campus and took part in an advanced mathematics refresher course at BRCC along with science and engineering sessions at BC, EMU and JMU. Students also participated in various social and non-academic activities during the evenings and weekends to help make the transition to the collegiate atmosphere. During the Fall semesters of 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 each college continued supporting their participating students by having them participate in a Collaborative Learning Community that focused on college success strategies and STEM activities.
All students who participated during the past four years showed improvement, some significant, in their readiness to take college level mathematics and science courses!
So, if you have a strong drive to be a STEM major but would benefit from a review of your Pre-Calculus skills among a group of entering college students with similar skills and interests, this program is for you! If you are not sure whether you need a review or not, apply anyway and we will be able to tell. The benefits, both academic and social, will be well worth your efforts – including a nice stipend for successfully completing the program!
The dates for this year’s Bridging the Valley summer program are June 23, 2013 – July 12, 2013.
This page will give you specific information for BRCC students wishing to participate. In order to find out the most general information, including instructions on how to apply, please see JMU’s Bridging the Valley website at