The first installment of the grant for $1.2 million will run Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009. The grant was awarded to UTPA as part of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Program under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act that will be used toward increasing the number of Hispanics and other low-income students attaining degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
“At UTPA we are constantly in motion creating every opportunity we can for our students in the STEM fields and this grant money will only enhance our efforts in shaping tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” said Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president.
UTPA currently offers top-ranked degree programs in its College of Science and Engineering such as biology, chemistry, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering and physics. In an effort to increase the number of Hispanics and low-income students in the STEM fields, UTPA created the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Program, in conjunction with the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15). HESTEC is an innovative program created to address the critical shortage of scientists and engineers in the nation.
Hinojosa, who announced the funding in a press release, stated the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, provides $200 million in competitive grants over the next two years to HSIs. Priority funding will be given to HSIs that increase the number of low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, and math.
“This landmark investment is essential to harnessing the talent of our students in South Texas so that they are ready to answer the nation’s call for more scientists and engineers,” said Hinojosa.