09:19 PM

Victory Lap for TRSDA at South Texas College

The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDA) at South Texas College has concluded its nearly three-year grant. Throughout the grant, TRSDA trained more than 170 STEM faculty from across the region, and successfully brought together leaders in healthcare and information technology industries.

The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDA) at South Texas College has concluded, and held a final meeting with its health and information technology (IT) consortium April 6 in Weslaco.

Over the course of two and a half years, STC fostered engagement among IT and healthcare professionals in order to promote industry growth in the Rio Grande Valley. The college worked with leaders in both industries who in turn recognized the high demand for growth in these sectors throughout the region.

“This was our final meeting with our consortium of the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator. The grant ends in May, and we shared with our partners everything we have done over the last two and a half years,” said Valerie Gamez, Project Director with TRSDA. “This is a recap of what we have been doing. We are very excited to tell everyone ‘thank you’ and to celebrate. We think we have accomplished all the initiatives we set out to do.”

Through its STEM Faculty Institute, Gamez said TRSDA offered professional development to more than 179 faculty across the region, from Brownsville to Rio Grande City.

Through the program, the mission was to provide training, as well as community and industry collaboration to benefit RGV-area faculty and more than 40,000 STEM students across the Rio Grande Valley.

STC served as the catalyst, urging students to move forward with their completion of certificates, associates and bachelor’s degrees over the term of the TRSDA and beyond.

“We had great progress and great success with the new Mathways project, and by partnering with UT’s Dana Center, our initial courses at STC have changed as a result. We are looking to make the paths smoother for students following a STEM path,” Gamez said. “The third initiative we really wanted to accomplish is business engagement, and I think we have done that on a superb basis. We have the faculty, and something we hope to keep going after the grant ends are the sector partnerships that were formed in healthcare and IT.”

Educate Texas awarded STC an $800,000 grant to help support the training of approximately 200 (67 per year) K-12 faculty over three years. The goal of the initiative was 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.

The meeting with healthcare professionals in particular was a historic first. Leaders from all the major hospitals and other healthcare sectors in the Valley participated in very candid conversations about the growing needs of the Valley and agreed to working partnerships in order to improve healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley.

Employers in Information Technology sought to identify the most important drivers of growth for IT- intensive sectors in the region—such as growing markets, advancing technologies, policy catalysts, and other forces.