STEM Education Center

Ten alumni of the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) entered WPI in the Fall of 2020 as the first cohort of the Connecting Mentor Partners for Academic Success of Undergraduates in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CoMPASS), and these first-generation scholars are set to graduate! The CoMPASS scholarship program is an NSF S-STEM grant that supplements the WPI Great Minds scholarship for Pell-eligible, academically talented students from WPS to provides orientation and navigation in attending WPI.



The Great Minds CoMPASS (GMC) scholars started their college career over Zoom, yet they were able to form a supportive community with most of them living together on the same residence hall floor in their first year. Throughout their four years at WPI, they attended professional development workshops, dinners, and mentoring opportunities through CoMPASS programming. Seven of the GMC scholars participated in summer research programs (i.e., EREE, REU), seven had a global IQP experience in a different country, and all formed deep bonds with each other and the GMC support team of WPI faculty, staff, and graduate students.

The GMC support team helped coach the GMC scholars in navigating the transition from high school to college, the “hidden curriculum” of college, the many resources at WPI, career and graduate school opportunities, and the unique experiences as first-generation students in a STEM-focused private institution. The CoMPASS scholarship program was designed to financially, academically, and emotionally support students with holistic, intentional, and research-backed programming to propel students from marginalized and disadvantaged backgrounds to be successful STEM professionals.

The core GMC support team has evolved over time but has consistently supported the scholars, and include Prof. Tiffany Butler, Prof. Funmi Ayobami, Prof. Jessica Rosewitz, Kristin Tichenor, Art Heinricher, Debra Boucher, Kathy Chen, Arnold Lane, Rachael Heard, Kristophe Zephyrin, Brianna Raphino, Mike DiRuzza, and Hermine Vedogbeton.

Supporting offices include but are not limited to AdmissionsHousing & Residential Experience Center, Student Activities, Financial Aid, Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME), Academic Advising, STEM Education Center, and Undergraduate Studies.

Congratulations to the first cohort of the Great Minds CoMPASS Scholars!



Class of 2024 GMC Scholars (Left to Right): Evans Owusu, Kleo Golemi, Peter Korfuzi, Dang Nguyen, Mylla Santana, Samuel Appiah, and Sky Tang (Not pictured: Hussain Bhatti, Abigail Boafo, and Komlavi Touglo)


Zoom meeting screenshot

The first cohort of GMC scholars started WPI over Zoom in the Fall of 2020.



scholars & supporters

The GMC scholars and support team celebrating the graduation of the first cohort. (Left to Right): Brianna Raphino, Kathy Chen, Jessica Rosewitz, Funmi Ayobami, Tif Butler, Peter Korfuzi, Kleo Golemi, Dang Nguyen, Debra Boucher, Mylla Santana, Evans Owusu, Sam Appiah-Kubi, Sky Tang, Arnold Lane, Jr.