North Star STEM Alliance

The North Star STEM Alliance (NSSA) program at Minnesota State University, Mankato is a partnership of higher education institutions and community partners dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students receiving baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Program Information

Join a group of students with similar areas of interest who work together throughout the semester, including engaging in academic and social events that are sure to further your educational and career goals. As a participant, you will also network with professionals across campus, and have opportunities to meet other Alliance participants at partnering institutions. 


A variety of on-campus and off-campus activities are available to participants including:

  • The Nobel Conference
  • NSSA Kick-Off Program
  • NSSA Conference
  • Undergraduate Research Conferences
  • Trips to Industry Sites
  • Peer Mentoring Sessions
  • Career Workshops
  • Academic Activities


  • Develop larger social network both on our campus and at other Alliance institutions. 
  • Opportunities to develop leadership skills.
  • Participate in activities to strengthen your resume.
  • Meet and learn from STEM industry professionals.
  • Stipends awarded when the required hours of participation are met.


The time commitment varies depending on your desired level of participation. North Star Scholars commit up to 30 hours of activities throughout the semester and receive a $300 stipend at the end of the term. While North Star Fellows are expected to complete 70 hours of work by the end of the term to receive a $1,000 stipend.

Who is Eligible for the North Star STEM Program and Research Grants?

In order to be eligible for the North Star STEM program you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • Underrepresented minority in the STEM field (African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American)
  • Currently enrolled student at Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • To participate in the North Star STEM program you must be in good academic standing at Minnesota State, which requires at least a 2.0 GPA and a 67% credit completion rate. However if you are doing research, there is no GPA or completion rate requirement.
  • Have a declared major in one of the STEM areas:
    • Astronomy
    • Automotive Engineering Technology
    • Biochemistry
    • Biology (General, Biomedical Sciences, Cytotechnology, Ecology, Microbiology, Nuclear Med Tech, Plant Science, Toxicology, Zoology)
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemistry
    • Civil Engineering
    • Computer Engineering
    • Computer Engineering Technology
    • Computer Information Technology
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Electronic Engineering Technology
    • Environmental Science
    • Food Science Technology
    • Health Informatics
    • Information Systems
    • Life Science Teaching
    • Manufacturing Engineering Technology
    • Mathematics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Medical Lab Science
    • Physics
    • Statistics

NSSA Requirements

To participate in the North Star STEM program there are certain requirements you must fulfill.

North Star Scholar

As North Star Scholar, you will be expected to complete 60 hours (30 hours each term) of STEM-related activities during the current academic year. The hours will be required through your participation in a subset of the activities:

  • Attend all of the peer mentoring sessions
  • One of the academic sessions
  • One career focused session

Scholars will be informed of activities (topics, dates, times, and locations) via email and the D2L website.

In order to track the hours you have achieved, each time you participate in most activities, you will need to write a 4-5 sentence summary of the activity and post it on the D2L site. All activity/hours must be achieved by the end of each term. You will be informed of the deadline each term.

North Star Fellows

As a North Star Fellow, you will hold a student and peer leadership role in the North Star program on the Minnesota State, Mankato campus and across the North Star Alliance. You will be expected to:

  • Attend monthly or biweekly meetings with Tracey Hammell
  • Facilitate peer mentoring session on a biweekly basis
  • Help to plan, coordinate, and attend activities for the Scholars on the Minnesota State, Mankato campus
  • Attend Alliance-wide North Star activities

You have an expectation of at least 70 hours during the semester. We expect that you will be committed to the program, your peer mentoring group, and the program objectives (to support and broaden participation of minority students in the STEM discipline).


Apply to the Program

NSSA Scholar Application 


Contact Information

For questions about the NSSA program please contact:

Coordinator: Marshall Bell
Location: Trafton Center C112
Phone: 507-389-1521