Below you will find answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the iSTEM@Stevens program.
Do I need to bring an idea I want to pursue to this program?
No you do not. Students receive active support and guidance to assist them in developing ideas and finding their passion.
Do iSTEM@Stevens students have to maintain a minimum GPA?
All Stevens students must remain in good academic standing (not on academic probation) and make progress toward your degree. If you receive scholarships, federal or state financial aid, there are academic progress requirements to retain your financial aid award. Please be sure to check the requirements of the financial aid awards that you receive. We do emphasize the need to balance coursework and the pursuit of your dreams, which is why we will provide personal tutors for all your courses if needed.
Am I required to start a company?
No you are not. You can develop one product, a nonprofit, or a company. Some participants have chosen to start a company and raise money so they can continue to run their enterprises right after graduation.
Am I allowed to work on different ideas at the same time?
In the first two stages of the program, we in fact encourage you to try different things. But we do expect you to commit to one big pursuit in the later stages so you can focus.
What if I change the idea that I am pursuing?
This happens all the time. Most work on a series of pet projects before deciding on the one big thing to pursue. Even beyond that, it is not uncommon to pivot or pick a new idea.
What if my idea starts to fail? Will I be removed from the program?
Turning ideas into something viable is difficult. Having done this for a while, we’ve come to understand that there is no such thing as true failure -- you just fail enough number of times until you succeed. Your turn around time with each successive iteration of an idea will actually be much faster than the prior run.
Must an invention be patentable? What if it is not?
Inventions must embody an improvement to the state-of-the art, and not all inventions are technological. Improving the state-of-the art can sometimes be non-patentable (e.g., superior customer service or operations). Take Starbucks for example, a multi-billion dollar company with zero patents.
What gets me removed from the program?
We do not believe in giving up on you, and neither should you. We understand the need to take a break, and that life happens. Barring genuine reasons, a long period (6+ months) of non-involvement in your endeavor can lead us to freeze funding for your project. We will even offer support to help cope with burnout, and you are free to resume your pursuits when you feel you are ready again.
Will this program interfere with other pursuits at Stevens, such as Co-op, varsity, or accelerated Masters?
This program fits seamlessly with the Stevens curriculum, and does not affect any other pursuit. Our prior participants have been a part of varsity, Co-op and/or accelerated masters program.