Rooted in STEM

Saturday STEM mentorship community

Are you interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and the student experience at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities?

The College of Science and Engineering's (CSE) Rooted in STEM brings together high school students in grades 10-12 from historically excluded identities in STEM to learn about STEM academics and community support at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Along with an undergraduate mentor, participants will relate their individual identities and experiences within STEM.

One Saturday per month

Participants will network with peers, learn about current topics in research and academic programs, and explore potential careers. There will be presentations, laboratory tours, science and technology demonstrations, and Q&A sessions. Presenters will include CSE faculty and graduate researchers, recent alumni in industry, and current undergraduate students.

Two-year commitment

Participants commit to the program through December of their 12th-grade year (spanning multiple academic years). Program elements include four Saturday sessions (10 a.m.-1 p.m.) per fall/spring semester and additional enrichment opportunities over each summer (e.g. camps, conferences, research assistantships).

Planned Spring 2023 semester dates are:

  • Saturday, Jan. 21
  • Saturday, Feb. 18
  • Saturday, March 18
  • Saturday, April 15

Future dates will be announced at least one semester in advance.

No cost

Participation in Rooted in STEM is offered free of charge, and includes lunch each month and a program gift, such as a T-shirt.  Participants must arrange their own transportation to and from the University of Minnesota campus, however, transportation scholarships are available upon request to participants demonstrating financial need.

$40,000 scholarship opportunity

Participants who attend continuously through the fall of their 12th-grade year and are admitted into the College of Science and Engineering in their 12th-grade year will receive a $40,000 ($10,000 for four years) 3M scholarship to the CSE!

Application information

Rooted in STEM will be limited to a small group cohort, and admission, therefore, is expected to be competitive. Admission will be based on the number of applications received and the qualifications of each applicant. Because enrolling an academically qualified, diverse student body is essential to Rooted in STEM, applicants from historically underrepresented identities are especially encouraged to apply.

Examples of historically underrepresented groups may include, but are not limited to, the following identities:

  • Low socioeconomic status (qualify for free/reduced lunch)
  • Black, Indigenous, or person of color (BIPOC), including Somali, Hmong, and/or Hispanic/Latinx/Chicanx
  • Immigrant or first-generation American
  • Potential first-generation college students (neither parent earned a Bachelor's degree)
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit (LGBTQIA+)
  • Differently abled (physically or mentally; for example deaf or autistic)

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be current 10th- or 11th-grade students
  • Demonstrate both an interest and aptitude in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics
  • Be interested in attending a four-year, post-secondary institution like the University of Minnesota
  • Commit to the program one Saturday per month through December of their 12th-grade year (spanning multiple academic years)

Application submission

To apply, submit the online application on or before Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. Recommendation forms also are due on or before Sunday, Dec. 4.

The online application includes submission of:

  • The email address of a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics teacher or high school counselor willing to provide a recommendation on behalf of the applicant
  • Personal statement essay responses
  • Self-reported academic details (e.g. GPA, coursework)

Recommendation form submission

Recommenders can expect to receive an email directly from Rooted in STEM program staff with a link to our online recommendation form. It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow-up with their recommender and ensure their recommendation form is submitted on or before the Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022 deadline.

Guidelines for recommenders

On school letterhead, in one page or less, please address the applicant's:

  • Interest and aptitude in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics
  • Work ethic and resilience
  • Other individual circumstances of which the application review committee should be aware, for example:
    • Outstanding talent, achievement, or aptitude in a particular area
    • Strong commitment to community service and leadership
    • Contribution to the cultural, gender, age, economic, racial, or geographic diversity of the student body
    • Evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to educational achievement
    • First-generation college student
    • Significant responsibility in a family, community, job, or activity
    • Extenuating circumstances

Accepted file formats are PDF (preferred) and Microsoft Word documents.

Admission timeline

Applications will be reviewed holistically by a committee after the application deadline of Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022.  Applicants will be notified of their admission status via email no later than Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Admitted students will receive an enrollment packet including a participant handbook and registration forms which must be completed and signed by a parent/legal guardian before programming begins on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. Applicants who are not initially accepted will be automatically added to the waiting list and notified if a spot becomes available to them.

Admission decisions

Admission decisions are based on the holistic assessment of each applicant’s academics and individual circumstances (listed below). The strongest consideration in the decision is given to academics, but no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision. In addition to academics, individual circumstances listed below are also considered as part of the overall assessment of each application, and should be highlighted in the applicant’s essay responses and recommendation:

  • Outstanding talent, achievement, or aptitude in a particular area
  • Strong commitment to community service and leadership
  • Contribution to the cultural, gender, age, economic, racial, or geographic diversity of the student body
  • Evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to educational achievement
  • First-generation college student
  • Significant responsibility in a family, community, job, or activity
  • Extenuating circumstances

For more information, send an email to csek12@umn.edu.

Rooted in STEM is sponsored by Polaris Inc and 3M.