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iCubed* is a grant-funded study examining the relative effectiveness of four student success interventions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  As a unique opportunity at UMBC for eligible first year students, the iCubed investigation targeted undergraduates  pursuing majors in STEM. The interventions represent tried and true initiatives employed by various high cost scholarship programs at UMBC.  Data analysis is in progress for the study, which seeks to establish which activities are both successful and cost effective for scaling up to benefit large numbers of future first year STEM students. The third of three cohorts completed their academic year of interventions in Spring 2014, with a total of 1,274 freshmen enrolled in iCubed@UMBC as follows:

Cohort 1 (2011-2012) – 309 participants
Cohort 2 (2012-2013) – 516 participants
Cohort 3 (2013-2014) – 449 participants

Student participants in iCubed@UMBC received one of five possible benefits (randomly-assigned interventions) over the fall and spring semesters of their first year at UMBC:

  • Community-based studying with other students (Team: Study Groups)
  • Direct mentoring from professors in their majors (Team: Faculty Mentoring)
  • One-on-one guidance from professional staff specific to career goals (Team: Staff Mentoring)
  • Enrollment in a special active learning math course (Team: Active Learning)
  • $50 UMBC Bookstore Certificate with access to the existing benefits and support available to all UMBC freshmen (Team: $ UMBC)

STEM Majors as defined by the iCubed project:

Biological Sciences
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chemistry Education
Physics Education
Computer Engineering
Computer Science
Chemical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Environmental Studies
Environmental Sciences
Information Systems
Business Technology Administration

* iCubed is the abbreviated project name for the “Evaluation, Integration and Institutionalization of Initiatives to Enhance STEM Student Success.” The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding this important study over a five-year period   Dr. Philip Rous, UMBC’s Provost, is leading the study. Per the protocol, participants could opt out of the iCubed study at any time.

Questions should be directed to iCubed@UMBC Project Director, Kathy Lee Sutphin, at