The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) graduate programs and/or careers. The project at Virginia State University seeks to expand, adapt and study a cross-disciplinary academic intervention aimed at incoming freshmen that have indicated an interest in STEM with the goal of improving retention and persistence in STEM majors. The activities and strategies are evidence-based and a strong plan for formative and summative evaluation is part of the project.<br/><br/>Through the implementation of the interventions, the Phenomenological Variable of the Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) developmental model will be tested for validity. A variety of personal factors that influence academic behavior will be studied in African American students in order to strengthen the factors that are most associated with successful academic performance. The project will support 1) formation of successful academic habits, 2) academic identity formation, 3) mitigation of self-handicapping through emotion regulation, and 4) expanding the brand of Virginia State University to include high academic achievement as a key part of the college experience. Both the intervention and the results of the study of the developmental model should be useful in developing models that support freshman integration into STEM majors at other institutions.