08:05 AM

South Texas College celebrates second cohort of graduating faculty making a difference through STEM-based training

More than 60 educators from across the Rio Grande Valley recently certified by South Texas College are now leaders in Science, Technology Engineering and Math. As the latest graduates from the RGV STEM Faculty Institute, faculty have been charged with guiding students into 21st century STEM careers.

Working under the auspices of the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDA), 61 faculty members from school districts across the Valley successfully completed intensive professional development training with the intent to enrich students’ learning experience in STEM related fields.

“We had a larger group than we had in Cohort I,” said Valerie Gamez, Project Director of TRSDA at South Texas College – Pecan Campus. “We also had a different kind of challenge in that, for Cohort I we did most of our seven day institute during the summer but Cohort II was held over the course of two semesters during the fall and spring.”

“We have been amazed by and grateful for everyone’s commitment to this program.  From the South Texas region 7 ISDs, 2 community colleges and 2 universities have sent their faculty to the STEM Faculty Institute,” Gamez said. “We look forward to this cohort ultimately serving about 15,000 students.”

Educate Texas awarded STC the $800,000 TRSDA grant to help support the training of approximately 200 RGV K-12 dual credit and higher education faculty over the course of three years. The goal of the initiative is to align curriculum between K-12 and higher education institutions in an effort to increase interest in STEM, and help students successfully complete a STEM-focused program of study, specifically in either healthcare or computer information technology.

The mission of the program aims to provide training, as well as community and industry collaboration to benefit more than 40,000 STEM students across the Rio Grande Valley as they prepare for STEM-related careers.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved with this grant,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed at the graduation ceremony which took place on June 9. “Educate Texas could have selected any community college or region of Texas, but they had the confidence that we would do a great job and make a difference. From what I’m seeing, we’re definitely not letting them down. That’s good for all of us.”

The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator has already begun their recruitment efforts for the third and final cohort of the RGV STEM Faculty Institute taking place from July 25-28, Sept. 28-29, with graduation taking place on Nov. 2.  For more information visit, www.southtexascollege.edu/grants/trsda.