Project Knowledge (PK)

PI: Cheryl Talley, Ph.D.

Project Members: Victoria Davis, Kara Morrison, Jordan Windley, Meya Mongkuo Meya Mongkuo

Project Knowledge (PK) is a vertical mentoring program that seeks to transfer academic skills, behaviors and beliefs that are conducive to academic success. Although applicable for all students, the curriculum focuses on students of color. PK has statistically shown that first-time African American college students are more likely to persist in their STEM major if they remain in school through their first 3 contiguous semesters. Through a guided mentor/mentee relationship, our program increased the STEM graduation rate at Virginia State University (an HBCU) by 40% in the first cohort. As opposed to traditional methods of tutoring and remediation, PK focuses on emotional and motivational factors to help STEM freshmen become STEM graduates. For the first cohort of PK students, 67% graduated with a STEM major within 5 years, which is better than the 50% national average and also higher than 40% average at VSU. Because of the quantitative and qualitative results produced by PK for both mentees and mentors, the program now partners with a local high school, providing lower division STEM students at VSU, the opportunity to mentor STEM-interested high school students.


Talley, C. Scherer, S., Hill, O. (2021). Improving educational outcomes with a values-based intervention, transformative learning and resilience. In: A human values pathway for teachers- Developing mindful practices in education. S. Parahakaran, S. Scherer, T. Reddy. Springer Accepted

Scherer, S., Hill, O., Talley, C. (2021). Mindfulness and Silent Sitting in the Classroom. In: A human values pathway for teachers- Developing mindful practices in education. S. Parahakaran, S. Scherer, T. Reddy. Springer Accepted

Whiteman L, Talley, C., Sayre, B.. (2021). A LearnSmart Study: Impact of an Adaptive Learning Tool on Student Academic Performance in an Introductory General Biology Course. Understanding Interventions (Accepted)

Tope-Banjoko, T., Davis, V., Morrison, K., John Fife, S., Hill, O.W., PhD., and Talley, C.P. (2020). Academic Resilience in College Students: Relationship between Coping and GPA Accepted Anatolian Journal of Education, 5(2), 109-120.

Davis, V., Harris, T.S., Talley, C. (2019). Using expectancy value theory to target African American STEM Students. Understanding Interventions Journal. 1(10),

Scherer, S., Talley, C. P., & Fife, J. E. (2017). How personal factors influence academic behavior and GPA in African American STEM students. SAGE Open, 7(2), doi 10.1177/2158244017704686. (

Talley, C., Fife, J., Harris, T., & Hill, O. (2015) Increasing Achievement by Strengthening Resilience: An Ecologically-based Intervention for African American Students, In The Race Controversy in American Education, edited by Lillian Dowdell Drakeford. Santa Barbara: Praeger, pp. 163-190