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In this Complete Evidence-based Practice paper, we describe the development and evolution of a combined academic summer bridge program and outdoors experience program designed to support the academic success and development of incoming STEM majors at Boise State University. First-time, first-year students’ transitions to university can be challenging for a wide variety of reasons, including increased independence, leaving behind parents and friends while simultaneously struggling to form new peer groups, and adapting to more rigorous coursework with less externally imposed structure than prior learning experiences. These challenges, especially those related to students’ sense of belonging and connection to other students, can be particularly pronounced for women, non-traditional students, first generation students, students with high levels of financial need (such as those who are pell-eligible), and members of underrepresented minority groups.

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© 2019, American Society for Engineering Education, Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference, Tampa, FL.