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Enhancing transfer students’ success in science

Approximately one-third of students in the College of Science are transfer students. To improve their success, the College has added a new position—Transfer Student and Recruitment Advisor—to its central advising team. Melissa Lee joined the College in August and brings a passion and expertise for helping transfer students transition smoothly to OSU science.

An alumna, Lee received her master’s degree in College Student Services Administration last spring at OSU. She worked with the Center for Civic Engagement and on transfer student engagement at the Office of Cross Campus Strategic Initiatives. Her undergraduate years were spent on the East coast, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in Leadership Studies at Appalachian State University in 2015.

The newly created position of Transfer Student and Recruitment Advisor reflects the College’s core commitment to diversity and student success. Transfer students comprise a significant percent of all science students and include many first-generation and non-traditional students. Building smooth on-ramps and pathways for transfer students – from community college to Oregon State and ultimately to rewarding and fulfilling careers – is a key part of the College’s strategic plan of building an inclusive science community while also improving transfer student graduation and retention rates.

Lee’s work with transfer students is fueled by a longstanding passion for social justice, especially regarding closing the vast income and racial disparities in higher education. In her master’s thesis she examined how transfer students at community colleges develop a sense of belonging at four-year institutions. In addition to Lee’s research, her previous work and intern experiences, where she developed marketing materials and planned events for transfer students as well as served as an academic success instructor, gives her a well-rounded background to address the unique challenges that transfer students face.

In her new role, Lee is excited to continue to augment the College’s momentum on several fronts, from building strong, reciprocal relationships with community college partners to engaging transfer students in life at OSU and connecting them with the resources they need to be successful.

“It has been a great first month on Team Science!” Lee remarked. “The College is focused on making sure students get the most out of their time at OSU. I have been very impressed with how intentional the College is being in including transfer student issues into their conversations. Everyone has been so welcoming to me and I am excited to be a part of this team.”

Lee’s office is in Kidder 115 in the College of Science Science Success Center, inside Kidder 109.

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