About L.E.A.R.N at WCU

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L.E.A.R.N.™ is a living-learning community (LLC) established at WCU in 2016 with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students' academic success.

By working with on-campus partners, L.E.A.R.N.™ provides a select group of 20 first-year students, and 20 select transfer students coming to WCU, an inquiry-based/hands-on learning experience. L.E.A.R.N.™ students are continuously supported, and build critical thinking and career readiness skills. Through early mentor-supported research opportunities, students enjoy unique learning experiences that are generally reserved for upper-level students. Students who join L.E.A.R.N.™ are empowered to build knowledge, skills, and networks that can pave a way to upper-level and post-graduate career opportunities.

Students in this program will:

1. Experience a close-knit learning community at a regional university with 19 other STEM students, mentors, faculty, and staff. We understand that coming to a university can be a bit daunting to a first-year and transfer students. We therefore strive to provide opportunities for our L.E.A.R.N.™ students to build one-to-one relationships with faculty, staff, and other students on campus. F-L.E.A.R.N. students live, work, and study together in Harrill Residence Hall throughout their time in the program. T-L.E.A.R.N. students are provided a permanent community space, where they can work, study, and share experiences as transfer students joining the WCU community.

2. Receive personalized academic advising through a dedicated L.E.A.R.N. academic advisor and a scholarship. Students in both F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. programs will receive personalized academic advising with a WCU advisor dedicated to the L.E.A.R.N. program. Students have the opportunity to meet with the L.E.A.R.N. academic advisor several times throughout the semester through planned advising check-ins, or if at any point a student feels the need to meet. In addition to personalized academic advising, students in both F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. will receive a scholarship.

3. Enroll in Introduction to Research courses to produce a research proposal and poster presentation . Earn credit hours toward your degree by participating in these courses. Both F-L.E.A.R.N. and T-L.E.A.R.N. students enroll in their sections of Introduction to Research (Part I) and Undergraduate Research in the Discipline (Part II) ; Part I taken in the fall semester and Part II taken in the spring semester. Students in the L.E.A.R.N. program can earn up to four elective credit hours, 3 of which can count towards a student's 25 % rule.

4. Engage in a 12-week research apprenticeship with an upper level undergraduate student-faculty mentor team. Students in L.E.A.R.N. will work alongside a student and faculty mentor team. Their help and guidance will provide the L.E.A.R.N. student a path to transition into the research area and the experimental designs.

5. Participate in academic, social, and community service activities through WCU-sponsored events to build and strengthen their network of peers.

6. Acquire skills that will make them qualified and competitive to apply to upper-level undergraduate research programs. Students who are successful in the program will be attractive candidates for junior- and senior-level research programs at WCU. We also strongly support and highly encourage our students to apply for competitive summer undergraduate research programs, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) programs.

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