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Benefits & Expectations

The Eureka Learning Community will provide you with an opportunity to interact with each other and bond with the other ELC students to develop a sense of cohesiveness and intellectual connections. The ELC will provide you with the skills and experience you will need to be successful in your lives beyond the classroom setting. It is expected that students who join the Eureka Learning Community (ELC) remain in good standing at Bellarmine at all times and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.50. Bellarmine NSF-STEM scholarship recipients are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 by the end of each academic year, and must plan to graduate in four years.

The Eureka Learning Community strives to enrich the academic experience through a variety of activities for students majoring in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science & Computer Engineering. As an ELC member, you will be part of a nurturing atmosphere that enhances your learning and personal growth, by participating in “outside the classroom” activities, getting involved in on-campus extracurricular and social activities. As an ELC member, you will also develop a network with your peers with similar personal and career interests. Throughout the academic year, the Eureka Learning Community will host group study sessions, peer tutoring, and science activities and presentations.

Listed below are some of the highlights of the Eureka Learning Community:

  • You will be assigned to a faculty advisor/mentor in your respective STEM discipline, who will ensure that you successfully completes your education at Bellarmine University in good standing. The faculty advisor/mentor will meet with you at least twice a month, via academic advisement sessions and through involvement in the activities of the Eureka Learning Community to monitor your academic progress to ensure satisfactory performance and successful completion of the undergraduate degree in four years from Bellarmine University. It is anticipated that these advisement sessions with your faculty mentor will lead to higher retention and graduation rates.
  • At least once a month, your faculty advisor will meet with you over lunch at the campus dining hall, so that you can address and discuss any academic issues or concerns you may be encountering in your academic endeavors as a member of the Eureka Learning Community. Towards the end of the semester, all ELC members in your respective discipline, along with your STEM Faculty Advisor will have dinner together at a restaurant off-campus.
  • To enhance learning opportunities, you will receive ample academic support and counseling, faculty and peer-tutoring sessions at the ARC (Academic Resource Center). In addition to study room in the ARC, all departments have designated lounges and study areas for their majors.
  • As needed, you will receive peer-tutoring provided by the university’s Academic Resource Center (ARC). Currently several peer-tutors are working in the ARC in each of the targeted STEM disciplines, who will specifically provide support- such as individual tutoring, writing tutorials, test-preparation, and group study sessions. Peer-tutors are also crucial to the retention and success of each student.
  • In your Junior and Senior year, you can apply in ARC to be a Peer-Tutor in your major as long as you have a GPA of at least a 3.0. Peer-tutors are employed by the ARC and typically work about 10 hours per week.
  • All Bellarmine NSF-STEM Scholars in the Fall semester of their Freshman year will take the IDC 100 (Freshman Focus) course taught by Dr. Mahmood, and in the Spring Semester, will take the IDC 101 (Freshman Seminar) course taught by a STEM faculty. Additionally, all Eureka Learning Community members in their first year will enroll in the MATH 117 (Calculus I) and MATH 118 (Calculus II) course taught by Dr. Ryan Therkelsen (ELC Math Advisor).
  • There are plans for an informal game night once a month either on a Saturday or Sunday where all ELC members can participate.
  • You will be required to participate in the academic club in your respective department so that you can take part in extracurricular activities in your respective major.
  • As an ELC member, you will have the opportunity to join Professional Societies in your respective STEM discipline. Physics majors can join KAS (Kentucky Academy of Science), KAPT (Kentucky Association of Physics Teachers), and APS (American Physical Society). Chemistry majors can join the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Math majors can join the Kentucky Section of the Mathematical Association of America (KYMAA). The Computer Science and the Computer Engineering majors can join the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • Each year, you are strongly encouraged to participate in one regional professional/scientific meeting in their respective discipline. Such opportunities will expose you to research activities that are currently taking place in your STEM discipline elsewhere, and to meet/interact with other STEM students and faculty from other institutions.
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in exciting science outreach activities with Dr. Mahmood- For example, you can perform the Archimedes’ experiment with brass, copper, iron and aluminum blocks (sorry, we do not have a gold crown! But if have a gold ring or chain you can find out if it is really made of “pure gold”). There will be experiments to detect comic ray particles using a cloud chamber and a muon detector so that you can determine how many cosmic-ray muons are going through you per minute. Contact Dr. Mahmood to inquire about other Physics outreach opportunities. There are currently plans for a trip to Fermilab (located in Batavia, IL) and NASA’s Glen Research Center (located in Cleveland, OH).
  • At the ELC Planet-Gazing Night, you will be able to view the Moon, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter with a 14” and a 10” telescope.
  • Currently there are plans to implement an ELC Seminar Series, where once a month there will be a talk presented by a Guest Speaker from one of the STEM fields. This opportunity will allow you to interact with the guest speaker and learn about their scientific research work.
  • If you are interested in paid summer research opportunities in Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics at research institutions in your Junior and Senior year, contact Dr. Mahmood in your Sophomore year.
  • If you are interested in paid internship opportunities in industry, contact Dr. Mahmood in your Junior year.
  • A part of ELC experience is academic preparation in the classroom and laboratory, but another important portion involves exposure to the larger professional community. To increase your career prospects so that you can get a job in the high-tech workforce after graduation, the Career Development Office will provide various professional development workshops and services starting from the Freshman year. The Career Development Office will provide counseling & advising so that you can explore your career opportunities. The Career Development Office will also assist with internships and job placement, on-campus job fairs with local/regional employers; professional development workshop on resume development, job search strategies, and interview skills. The Career Development Office will invite local recruiters on-campus so that you can establish relationships with the local workforce development officers. This experience will provide you with a network of well-connected professionals you can continue to work with after graduation.
  • To prepare those scholars who plan to attend graduate school after graduation, your STEM faculty advisor will help with the GRE preparations, and assist with graduate program selection and application.
  • All ELC members, starting from their sophomore year are strongly encouraged to take part in a faculty-mentored research project in their respective major. You will have the opportunity to present your research results in a poster format at the annual Bellarmine Undergraduate Scholarship week. You will also have the opportunity to present your research work (talks and posters) at local, state, regional or national scientific conferences or meetings in your respective STEM fields.

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