FOCUS

FOCUS, which stands for “Focusing on Cultivating Scientists,” is in its 8th year at Carleton.  FOCUS is designed for students interested in science and promoting diversity in the sciences. FOCUS supports students through their entry into the study of science/math at Carleton and as they continue in the curriculum by creating a cohort which enrolls in classes together (in so far as this makes sense), meets regularly in a colloquium throughout the first and second year, and has an opportunity for work study in the sciences.  Cohort activities continue throughout a student's four years at Carleton.

A FOCUS student’s first-year program includes the following:

Fall term

  • A science based Argument and Inquiry seminar; for 2014: PHYS 100 – 6 credits
  • FOCUS colloquium – 2 credits
  • 2 additional courses of student’s choice – 12 cr. (likely including 1 math course)

Winter term

  • Math or science course* – 6 credits
  • FOCUS colloquium – 2 credits
  • 2 additional courses of student’s choice – 12 credits

Spring term

  • Math or science course* - 6 credits
  • FOCUS colloquium – 2 credits
  • 2 additional course of student’s choice – 12 credits

Benefits for FOCUS students include the following:

  1. Membership in a cohort of science-interested students.
  2. Placement into science-based Argument and Inquiry seminar in fall term of first year.
  3. FOCUS coordinator (a science/math faculty member) organizing events, publicizing opportunities, and working directly with student participants.
  4. Priority registration into one science or math course in winter and spring terms of first year.
  5. Full-year colloquium in first and second year taught by FOCUS coordinator with an emphasis on science-based activities, projects, research opportunities, and field trips as well as on strategies for success at Carleton. Students earn credits equivalent to a single course distributed over the first year, and equivalent to half of a course over the second year, creating a “cushion” for future terms in which students may want to take a reduced load.
  6. Personalized science advising with FOCUS coordinator in addition to regular academic advising.
  7. Student mentors available for science/math courses in which FOCUS students are enrolled.
  8. Work-study opportunities in the science/math areas for approximately 50% of work contract, plus opportunities to serve as science/math peer mentor (paid).
  9. Targeted recruiting for summer opportunities.

The cohort is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the NSF's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP).

Interested in becoming a part of FOCUS? Choose PHYS 100 (Powering the Future: Renewable Energy in Context) as your top choice on the A & I Seminar Pre-Registration Form and answer the pertinent questions.

Contact Information

FOCUS Adviser: Deborah Gross, Professor of Chemistry, Mudd Hall 172, x5629  dgross@carleton.edu   *Check out Deborah Gross' website

Alternate FOCUS contacts:

Cindy Blaha, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of the Liberal Arts, Goodsell Observatory 202, x4429, cblaha@carleton.edu.

Sam Patterson, Professor of Mathematics, Center for Math and Computing 325, x4373  spatters@carleton.edu.

Debby Walser-Kuntz, Professor of Biology, Hulings 328, x5756 dwalser@carleton.edu.


  • FOCUS