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  1. Achieving Change in our Communities for Equity and Student Success (ACCESS) in STEM at the University of Washington Tacoma started as a Track 1 S-STEM program in 2018 and has supported 69 students to date. This year we received Track 2 funding and welcomed our fifth cohort to campus, with funding to support ~32 additional students through 2026. University of Washington Tacoma is an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution (AANAPISI), and we serve a high proportion of racial minority and first generation college students. Our ACCESS scholars are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics, Environmental Science, Biomedical Sciences, Information Technology, Computer Science and Systems, Computer Engineering and Systems, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering, with Computer Science and Engineering representing over 60% of ACCESS scholars to date. First-time college students and first-year transfer students receive full scholarships for their first two years, and partial scholarships for their third and fourth years. The project includes an optional Early Fall Math course to enhance entry into STEM majors, and participants are able to engage in a Research Experience or project-based Introduction to Engineering course in their first year. Coupled with individual faculty mentoring and an on-campus STEM living learning community, the quarterly Success in STEM seminar course helps scholars form a cohesive community through group mentoring, as well as develop a sense of belonging, identity, and empowerment to transform the culture of STEM. This program is distinguished by its focus on pre-STEM majors in their first and second years on campus, and includes mentor training for ~30-40 faculty in teaching and mentoring diverse student populations, thus impacting all students in our majors. Our goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of a program that focuses on the first two years of college and provides financial support, courses to introduce students to research and project-based engineering, and intensive mentoring in increasing retention and academic success for Computer Science and Engineering (CS+E) students, and whether this program helps to close equity gaps for CS+E students who are low socioeconomic status (SES), underrepresented minorities (URMs), female, and/or first generation in college (First Gen) students. We compared our student scholars to a comparison group of students who met eligibility requirements but did not participate in the program. Program scholars had higher first and second year retention, and had significantly higher GPAs. The pandemic resulted in significant social, emotional, and economic stresses for our program scholars, which may have heightened the impact of the ACCESS in STEM program. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024