In 2019, the Renaissance Foundry Research Group, in collaboration with the Oakley STEM Center, received a Tennessee Student Engagement, Retention, and Success (SERS) grant from the State of Tennessee to initiate the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Foundry Heritage Fellows (FHF) program.


As per their requisites, SERS grant funds are designed to support new or existing campus services or programs that serve underrepresented or other targeted student populations including, but not limited to, underrepresented minorities, economically disadvantaged students, adults, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Specifically, funded TBR programs will:
• close gaps of retention, graduation, or other metrics;
• have the potential to significantly increase and/or impact access levels for further
equity/diversity initiatives at the institution; or
• produce outcomes that correspond to Completion/Achieving the Dream plans and/or the Drive to 55/Complete College TN Act.

Our aim with the STEM Foundry Heritage Fellows program was to recruit motivated, talented, and dedicated students on campus who wanted to explore multicultural issues in STEM while learning how to be community leaders and planners of events that could affect positive change in the STEM community. Our goal with this program was to help students leverage the Foundry as a way to investigate, plan, and implement two community outreach projects that centered on multicultural aspects in STEM. Our training provided student leaders and mentors with a comprehensive curriculum that integrated project management, planning, cultural studies, and teamwork in way that guided them to create a prototype of innovative technology represented by the community project developed.

Our Main Pillars:

STEM: our fellows have an academic interest in fields considered to be associated with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and education students that have selected a STEM field as their major concentration.

Foundry: our fellows become experts in the Renaissance Foundry Model, an innovation-driven platform that takes student teams through six major steps to develop prototypes of innovative technology. Fellows will be trained in this platform in order to create multicultural events associated with STEM geared for community outreach and involvement.

Heritage: our fellows are representative of and represent, through their outreach efforts, the multifaceted aspects associated with STEM fields highlighting the wide reach that STEM programs can have for community development, innovation, and growth.

Finally, as Fellows we plan for our inaugural cohort to be one of mentorship, learning, and growth between upper-level classmen and graduate students who bring another type of academic perspective to those just entering their academic careers.

Program Elements:

Professional Development

All Fellows will be required to participate in two Foundry training events, one in the Fall (September) and one in the Spring (February).  This will provide the foundation needed to develop a plan of action for the two Multicultural Events featured in this program.

Mentoring Sessions

All Fellows will be required to participate in eight mentoring sessions per semester.  In the Fall and Spring semesters, we anticipate holding approximately two per month, all led by Upperclassmen/Graduate Students and facilitated by faculty.  The purpose of these sessions is to develop a learning community that leads to the creation of the two Multicultural Events featured in this program.

Community Events

All Fellows will be required to participate in four Outreach and Service events on campus.  Two (one per semester) will be selected by the Fellows from the STEM Center programming available, the other two include volunteering at the STEM 4 ALL Inclusive STEM Initiative (Fall) as well as the Tennessee STEM Educational Research Conference (Spring).  Through these events, Fellows will gain an understanding of project management and development that will help them to create the two Multicultural Events featured in this program.

Leadership & Engagement

All Fellows will be charged with the design, development, and implementation of two community and campus events that features the multicultural aspects inherent in STEM. The purpose of these events is to spark conversations about the value of diversity in STEM fields.  One event will be featured in the Fall, the other in the Spring.  Support, mentoring, and training for these two projects will be part of the other programming activities featured here.

Semester Outline:

Fall 2019

Foundry training (September)
Mentoring sessions (8 total)
1 Outreach event
STEM 4 All event
1 Multicultural Event

Spring 2020

Foundry training (February)
Mentoring sessions (8 total)
1 Outreach event
TN STEM Conference
1 Multicultural Event

Official Application Site for the 2019-2020 academic year:

Active Training Sessions