Faculty Mentor and Student Guide
During the first year, each FAST Scholar will be assigned a faculty mentor and an upper division student guide in their area of interest. The faculty mentor will meet with their FAST Scholar twice per semester in the first year to jointly construct a Professional Development Plan, provide a description of what the scholar should expect, and give suggestions on how to avoid common pitfalls. In their second year, FAST Scholars will select a faculty mentor to guide them through completion of their degree. The student mentor will interact with the FAST Scholar through the second year of studies, by which time the scholar should be well connected with more advanced students who can provide advice, mentoring, and support for academic progress.
FAST scholars will integrate into the Honors College. During their first year, FAST Scholars will have the opportunity to live on campus in specially arranged Honors College housing that is imbued with academic enrichment and social activities aimed at high performing students of the Honors College. Enhanced advising and early enrollment by the Honors College will enable students to assemble individualized degree plans and enter courses at optimal times for degree progress. Upper-division honors work typically culminates in a senior honors thesis or senior honors project under the direction of a faculty member from the department of the student's major.
Science Boot Camp
FAST scholars will participate in a one-week Science Boot Camp to review foundations needed for undergraduate studies in the sciences. The Science Boot Camp will engage in a rapid review of important chemistry and physics topics to ensure that FAST Scholars are prepared to enter the honors sequences of these courses. Instructors will also verify that those students who have not completed AP Calculus are well prepared for mathematics coursework.
FAST Scholars will be encouraged to engage in research. Depending on the selected discipline and research project, some students may be eligible to apply for support from training grants (RISE, MARC-U*STAR, LSAMP, and TREE). The training programs typically require 14 hours per week of laboratory work in the academic year and 19 hours per week in the summer.
Research and Scientific Conferences
In their first year, FAST Scholars will attend the annual UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference as observers to interact with poster presenters. In their second year, the FAST Scholars who participated in research will present a poster at both the UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference. In the third and fourth years, FAST Scholars will present posters at the UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference and at regional or national conferences in the student's discipline of interest.
The FAST program will organize monthly gatherings to foster scholar communication and interaction. Scientists from local corporations, research institutions, and UTSA Biology, Chemistry, and Physics faculty will be invited to discuss trans-disciplinary research.
Professional Development Workshops
FAST Scholars will participate in professional development workshops offered by the RISE and MARC-U*STAR programs. These ongoing professional development, scientific communication, grant writing, and leadership workshops provide enrichment activities that promote the scientific and social skills needed for science careers and increase awareness of the competencies expected of practicing scientists.