The eight-week math-intensive Running Start Summer Bridge program (RSSB) supports and challenges incoming STEM students in their coursework while immersing them on campus life. The current study explores the effectiveness of RSSB in easing students’ transition to college life and the rigorous nature of STEM disciplines. Throughout the program, holistic mentoring and participatory tutoring techniques provided students with academic enrichment opportunities. Central to this initiative is encouraging equity-mindedness and foster community-building practices.

Data presented demonstrate how this innovative initiative increased retention and persistence among underrepresented students in STEM disciplines while fostering a sense of community.

Best practices and assessment for holistic STEM summer bridge programs are included as a model to better retention and student success on different institutions taking in consideration the various factors and circumstances influencing program admission and demographics.