ASI discusses Project PASS

Angel Kidka

Associated Students, Inc. discussed the Peer-Assisted Student Success Project with biology professor and liaison of the program Jennifer Lundmark at their weekly working board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the Foothill Suite of the University Union.

Project PASS is a grant program focused on the success of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.

According to the handout, “the goal of PASS is to improve student success in STEM gateway/gatekeeper course, thereby decreasing enrollment bottlenecks and increasing the number of STEM students from all backgrounds who graduate from Sacramento State.”

Lundmark gave a special presentation explaining why the program is so important for students here at Sacramento State and nationwide.

“Two-thirds of STEM majors end up dropping out of college or graduate with different majors, and that’s a nation wide issue which is negative because STEM jobs creates jobs for other industries,” Lundmark said.

Lundmark said having this program is necessary because the future of STEM is reliant on the CSU systems due to the diversity and backgrounds of the students.

“The more of those graduates we help make it through the gateway course and the more they can successfully complete their degrees, the better shape that we are going to be in overall,” Lundmark said.

The methods of meeting the goals include Peer-Assisted Learning, which allows students to enroll in a one-unit study hall class where they can get help from a group of fellow classmates with the assistance of paid facilitators who have previously taken their class.

“Students who enroll in a PAL have a markedly increase pass rate and higher grades overall, thus decreasing the time to degree and saving money,” Lundmark said.

Former member of PAL and ASI Director of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Kylee Homecillo, shared her experience.

“The best thing about this program is that you make really strong connections,” Homecillo said. “Some of my best friends and I meet at PAL. We worked together, and now we are going to graduate together.”

The success of the program and the increased demand by students has lead to discussion of expansion by ASI, with more information to be announced.

“The program has been on our strategic priorities last year and this year and the end goal is to get it institutionalized because it’s in very high demand, and we want to make sure it stays for the students,” ASI President Melissa Bardo said.