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Science Talent Expansion Program


The Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP) was launched in 2003 with a grant from the National Science Foundation. STEP focuses on increasing the total number of students obtaining STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees at Central Washington University and the number of traditionally underrepresented students in STEM undergraduate majors. Underrepresented students are defined as low-income, ethnic and racial minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and first generation college students.

It is the goal of the Science Talent Expansion Program to provide direct, significant, and sustained benefits to the student population; to recruit and retain students in STEM fields through academic support and mentoring; and to direct students equipped with essential knowledge and skills toward successful STEM careers.


Academic and Social Support

STEP students have the support of STEP faculty, staff, and other STEP students. Students meet quarterly with the STEP Coordinator to assess their progress and receive referrals to a variety of on-campus academic and social services. There are opportunities for STEP students to pursue tutoring in the various STEM disciplines offered at CWU. STEP students are able to get personalized help with homework, projects, and studying. In addition, STEP students have a chance to join the STEP Living Learning Community located in Kamola and Hall. The STEP LLC gives students an opportunity to connect with other STEP students in a shared residence and opportunities to build valuable social and academic connections.

More information is available on the STEP Student Resources page.


Financial Support

STEP offers a special financial aid opportunity for partial tuition, which is available to eligible freshman students who have been accepted into STEP, who submit a FAFSA application and have been demonstrated sufficient financial need. Continuation of aid beyond fall quarter of the freshman year is dependent on academic performance.

The STEP Bridging Program provides funding for sophomore students to do a research, mentoring, or recruiting project.

When applying to STEP, for freshman students to be eligible for STEP financial aid opportunities:

  • FAFSA applications are to be submitted no later than June 1st. (The priority deadline is March 15th.)
  • All STEP applications must be turned in no later than August 1st if students are to be considered for STEP financial aid opportunities. Students whose applications are submitted after August 1st may be accepted into the program, but will not be eligible to receive any financial assistance from STEP.



STEP provides students with added academic and social support, which increases their success and progress towards a STEM degree and future STEM career. STEP also provides students with challenging and stimulating activities that help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for success in STEM careers.

The Science Talent Expansion Program serves CWU freshman, sophomore, and new transfer students. For more information about the various STEP programs, please refer to the links on the left side of the page.


2013 NSF Meeting Poster

2013 NSF Meeting Abstract

2013 NSF Meeting Workshop (CWU Diversity Initiatives Outline)

2012 NSF Meeting Poster

2012 NSF Meeting Abstract