STEM Starter Academy

STEM Starter Academy logo

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is dedicated to investing in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) research, education, and job and workforce development to meet the critical need for employees in these fields. STCC has developed the STEM Starter Academy in response to the Commonwealth’s charge. 

Several students participate in STEM Starter event


  • Increase student awareness of and access to STEM programs of study and career opportunities
  • Enhance student readiness for and recruiting into STEM pathway programs
  • Improve student retention based on academic success and overcoming life barriers
  • Increase awarding of certificates or degrees and entry into pathways to STEM jobs or transfer to four-year STEM academic programs

The STEM Starter Academy provides incoming first year students a jumpstart to their first semester on campus. Participants receive a funded academic experience, launching them into their first year by taking classes, receiving tutoring and coaching, going on field trips, seeing guest speakers, and having hands-on experiences. During the academic year, students will also have access to coaching and tutoring support, and participate in STEM Starter Academy events and activities. Students who are interested in participating must apply. Students of color and female students are strongly encouraged to apply.

My experience at SSA, I can say, was phenomenal. The guest speakers were motivating. The staff was really helpful. The trips were amazing.” STEM Starter Scholar

"The STEM Starter academy is a golden opportunity for our future students, aimed to guide them towards STEM careers. Apart from free classes, credits, academic guidance, support and stipend, they will enjoy making new friends, fun field trips and free lunch every day! What better way can you spend your summer?" - Reena Randhir, Ph.D., Director of the STEM Starter Academy.

Get a head start on the STCC experience

  • Take FREE college courses (English, First Year Experience)
  • Attend FREE field trips to learn more about STEM careers
  • Participate in a guest speaker series to learn more from STEM experts
  • Participate in lectures and hands-on activities with some of our own STEM professors
  • Receive a $300 stipend at the end of the summer, upon successful completion of the courses
  • Start building relationships with professors, administrators, staff, and peer mentors, creating a strong support system
  • Get early access and exposure to campus resources
  • Build a small community among Summer Bridge peers, developing friendships

Application Process

Click here to complete an online application

Applicants need to:

  • Be a Massachusetts high school graduate from the graduating classes 2018, 2019, or 2020
  • Be a Massachusetts resident
  • Submit an STCC admissions application for the Fall 2018 semester and a STEM Starter Academy application
  • Have a GPA of 2.7 or above
  • Have parent/guardian permission, if under 18 years of age

Research Methods in Biology

Another excellent opportunity for STCC students is the BIO 117 - RESEARCH METHODS IN BIOLOGY course. If you're interested, please apply for free tuition.

BIO-117 is supported by the Massachusetts STEM Starter Academy grant which has the goal of getting students involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Tuition and supplies are free for qualified students. There are several field trips, guest speakers, activities and symposiums in this course. Students will be supported to present their research in conferences.

Course Description: In this course students will be introduced to quantitative and qualitative methods for conducting meaningful scientific inquiry and research while developing an understanding of the scope and purpose of biological research and building written and oral communication skills. Under supervision of a faculty mentor, students will select a research project, write a literature based research proposal, conduct experiments, and prepare and communicate a research report in either written or poster form. Research methods and experimental design will be emphasized, along with accessing articles from the professional literature and the effective communication of research results. Prerequisite(s): BIO 101 or BIO 102 and Corequisite(s): BIO 117L. 3 credits.

MassTransfer Block: Credits earned in this course are counted towards the MassTransfer Block Natural or Physical Science requirements.

STEM Robotics Challenge

Feb 20th, 2019, 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Venue: STCC, Scibelli Hall (B2), Room 703

This fun educational workshop and challenge is offered by Massachusetts National Guard and sponsored by STEM Starter Academy at STCC.

In this workshop, STCC students will learn the fundamentals of Robotics to program their own Robot using the Tetrix kit. No prior knowledge is necessary. This Tetrix Kit is used extensively by skillsUSA, consists of heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminum elements, powerful drive motors, and wireless cameras. This event challenges teams to create a Robot that can navigate a unique obstacle course to locate and remove an object within a specified time. Free refreshments, lunch and a participation certificate will be offered to the registered participants. For the competition part of the event between 12.30-1.30 p.m. STCC campus will be invited.

Days' agenda

9 a.m.: Welcome, Registration, and forming teams.
9.30- 12 noon: Presentations, Design, and Build your Robot.
12- 12:30 p.m. Pizza Lunch
12:30- 1:30 p.m.: Robot Obstacle competition (campus invited)
1.30- 2 p.m.: Awards and Certificates.

Register for the event

You will receive an email confirming your seat. If you have any questions contact us either by e-mail (Reena Randhir: or telephone (Crystal Lamb 413-755-4576).

Sustainathon 2020

Thursday, April 16th: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Venue: STCC, Scibelli Hall (B2), Gymnasium
Sustainathon Event Flyer (PDF)

The objective of this event is to bring STCC students, local high school students, industry stakeholders, scientists, and community together to create awareness of current sustainability challenges and the importance of STEM innovative solutions for enhancing economic livelihood, workforce development, and quality of life of communities in Western Massachusetts. This event will coincide with world-wide efforts towards environmental sustainability and stewardship in celebration on Earth Day 2019. The event will educate future leaders in solving current challenges using integrated solutions to nurture a sustainable community that is economically and environmentally resilient and socially healthy.

This fun carnival-like event will consist of two concurrent parts. The Sustainathon Interactive Exhibits and the Sustainathon Poster Competition. Exhibits include: Citizen Earth Watch, Reducing our carbon footprint, Carbon sequestration, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Agriculture, Food Justice, Green Buildings, Sustainable Water Resources, Water and Waste Treatment, Recycling, Biodiversity, Bee-keeping, Hydroponics, Food Security, Adaptation to climate change, Health and sustainability, Urban ecology, Water Conservation, Sustainable Industrial design, Adaptation to climate change, Applications of biomimicry, Urban design of natural spaces, Innovative technologies and Biosystems engineering. The poster competition provides a platform to motivate students to conduct research, to persevere, learn team-work and presentation skills to create innovative STEM solutions to current sustainability challenges.

Come participate, enjoy live music, and free lunch.

Register your high school or STCC team for the poster competition here. More information about this event, the exhibits, and competition rules can be found on the Sustainathon webpage.

Contact Information