SE 101 introduces Freshman Success for minorities in STEM


SE 101 is a course designated to help college freshmen plan their academic path during their first semester. Students are taught resources and tools that ensure a smooth transition into college.

Although the course offers a variety of sections focused on each major, the College of Science and Technology has also provided a section to focus specifically on minorities in STEM.

Daniel McCarthy, Ph. D., dean of the College of Science and Technology, discussed why this section is offered.

“In the College of Science and Technology, we are making a number of different efforts to try and increase our student body as a whole,” said McCarthy. “We are trying to address the areas where students are misrepresented in the field, and systematically, we are trying to improve that so that we can have a more welcomed environment. We were finding that many students were starting the degree, but never really making it to the more challenging years as a student.”

The newly-added sections were introduced before the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

“We have two faculty members, Dr. Troy Williams who is in physics and Jerrie Hanible in biology,” explained McCarthy. “They each agreed to take a section, each one being all black students with a mix of both male and female.”

McCarthy explained the biggest difference the department aims to make in this section.

“They are addressing what all students are instructed during the course, but there are the extra resources of bringing working professionals for minorities and talking to those students to get a sense that there are other people like them in these careers,” mentioned McCarthy. “Most importantly, it builds a sense of community.”

The College of Science and Technology has even started making a difference towards improving the quality of education for its minority students.

“We are taking plenty of initiatives to benefit the program,” shared McCarthy. “We recently did a study of our faculty and alumni to find out what are some of the things we are doing right, and could do better. For the Day of Giving, the college had one big initiative, and that was to provide a scholarship to underrepresented students.”

McCarthy explained that there are also many challenges for females in STEM.

“We have some fabulous faculty who have already started a Women in Technology group, a women’s chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery, and they’ve been very active by doing a lot of trips and interacting with companies who also have Women in Technology groups,” detailed McCarthy. “Who have speakers who come for Women in Technology, and just this semester, we sponsored two students and a faculty member to attend an international conference on women and computing so that they can bring lessons they have learned back to Southeastern.”