Applying to be a First2 Campus

The First2 Network’s aim is to double the percent of STEM graduates in West Virginia, and to expand to other similar states to help improve retention and graduation rates.

Success in the first two years of college is a critical step in a STEM career path.  The first two years of college are a time during which we lose too many diverse students from STEM. First2’s goal is to generate compelling, actionable information on how participating institutions can improve the success of first-generation and other underrepresented STEM college students.

We focus on rural, first-gen, and other underrepresented rising freshmen and undergraduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Underrepresented students include students with disabilities, racial minorities, women, LGBTQ+, and low-income students. By working to better serve our most vulnerable students, we will improve outcomes for all students on participating campuses.

First2 uses improvement science to identify, test, and scale high impact practices organized around four main drivers of change identified by the network. Driver_graphic_v3.docx Institutional teams apply improvement science approaches from the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and Learning (Plan-Do-Study-Act or PDSA rapid cycles of testing of change ideas) to build evidence for scalable and transferable practices and policies across the state and the nation.  The First2 Network uses a Collective Impact/Networked Improvement Communities framework to carry out improvement science.  You can read more about this framework and the role of the backbone for First2 Network here:  Networked Improvement Community Framework for Collective Impact 

The First2 Network is a National Science Foundation INCLUDES Alliance. INCLUDES stands for Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science, a signature initiative of NSF. As an INCLUDES Alliance, First2 Network is funded to learn how to help more rural, first-gen/underrepresented students be successful in completing a STEM degree. We work with campuses and students to create and test solutions to overcome barriers identified by research and the lived experiences of our students themselves. 

Being a First2 Campus

Campuses join First2 Network as a way to test, improve, and share change ideas to improve retention of first-gen and underrepresented students in STEM.  First2 campus partners are also eligible to receive financial support from the First2 Network.. 

First2 has worked with several undergraduate campuses to provide financial support for First2 initiatives on their campus.  These include Fairmont State, Marshall, WV State, WVU, WVU Tech, University of Charleston, and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. We welcome applications from new campuses across the state and in other EPSCoR states. 

Campuses participate in the network through a First2 Institutional team composed of students, faculty, staff and administrators.  Institutional teams use improvement science to test and scale high impact practices on the campus, as identified by the First2 Network driver diagram and formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with First2.MOU components of RFP

Student leaders are integrally involved and campuses share learning with each other and additional stakeholders through the First2 Network.

Participating campuses receive support and engagement for their Institutional Team from the FIrst2 Network backbone. Institutional Teams test change ideas as outlined in our Driver Diagram. First2 institutional teams include one or more First2 Student Directors who are funded as undergraduate leaders on campus.  All institutional teams host a club to connect students with support and resources, advised by a STEM faculty member working in collaboration with Student Directors. Additional change ideas include testing the effectiveness of summer/academic year research programs, changes in course policies and procedures, and a variety of other ideas.

Attend an Informational Session
November 8, 2022

This session will explain the proposal process in more detail including proposal elements, and evaluation criteria. In addition, you will have the opportunity to ask questions of faculty who have hosted summer research internships in the past. Check the Events link on the website for Zoom connection information. Direct any questions to Sarah Riley at

Technical Support Sessions Dec. 1, 4:30, or Dec. 7, 2:00

First2 Staff will be “in the office” to help you with any questions you have as you work on your proposal. Pop in at any time during the hour for some personalized assistance.

Check the Request for Proposals or the Events Calendar on the website for Zoom connection information.

Submit a full proposal
Deadline: January 11, 2023, 11:59 PM

Updated Request for Proposal.

The Proposal will contain:

  • Cover Page
  • Letter of commitment from the institution affirming the institutional liaison role and identifying the commitment to partnership. The letter of commitment should be signed by the person designated as the Administrative Lead (e.g., Director, Dean, Provost, or President.) Upon award, institutions will sign an MOU with the First2 Network.
  • Narrative. The core (required institutional elements) narrative will be 4 pages maximum. 
  • Budget and budget narrative.  

Note: Programs on each site will be considered programs of that institution, and the institution will be named as an official FIrst2 Network partner. As programs of each institution, the institution’s liability insurance will cover the program, and the program will adhere to any other compliance requirements of the institution. We welcome supplemental funding from your institution to support additional students beyond what First2 can afford. Supplemental funding may be necessary, depending on actual costs at the institution.

The First2 Network will provide support to successful sites for the following (See Budget Template for current funding levels)

  • room and board during the internship;
  • 2-3 older undergraduate student mentors who will assist with planning and be active mentors during the internship (average based on 10 students/site);
  • funding for recreational/team building activities
  • $100/student for summer internship lab supplies
  • An honorarium to recognize the work and effort of the summer site lead and supporting faculty.
  • Mentorship and training to undergraduate mentors and faculty in setting up your program.
  • Funds to support a campus club and $500 to honor a club advisor willing to test and document best practices of their club.


Proposal Resources

Request for Proposal Complete instructions for completing your proposal.

Example Proposal from 2020 NB: There may be additional sections in this year’s proposal. Thank you, Marshall, for sharing!

2020 Summer Research Resource. Sample schedule, research project descriptions and external evaluation

Internship Implementation Toolkit

Developed with our 2020 mentors, this is an invaluable collection of materials to help you plan an excellent First2 internship.

Timeline of Events

Milestones for the 2021 Summer Internship. Will be revised for 2022.

Planning the Internship

Recruiting and followup, sample schedules, research project descriptions and more!