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Home | Tag Archives: stem

Tag Archives: stem

TTUHSC El Paso to Host STEM Workshops for Local K-12 Students

On Saturday, January 27, hundreds of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from throughout El Paso county will get a taste of careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at the seventh annual Adventure for Your Future health sciences fair.

The event, hosted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), is an effort to build interest in the health sciences at a young age.

The one-day event exposes kids to a hands-on science environment and teaches parents ways to encourage their children toward the STEM fields.  To register, click here.

Workshops include “A Journey through the Body,” “Laboratory Testing for Medical Treatment,” “You Gotta Have Heart,” “Veterinary Medicine and Conservation,” “Consequences of Underage Drinking” and “Dental Rotations.” Tours will be held in the Medical Education Building and other buildings on campus.

The free workshops will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a welcome message by El Paso Mayor Dee Margo at 8:45 a.m.

EPCC Represented at the 29th Annual HENAAC Great Minds in STEM

Eight students from El Paso Community College (EPCC) and The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) attended the 29th Annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) (GMiS), that took place in Pasadena, California earlier this month.

“I am proud to educate the future ethical hackers from society.” Dr. Christian Servin, EPCC Instructor of Informational Technology Systems, said. “Training these young minds in developing computational thinking through cybersecurity concepts and witness their success, make me proud to teach in an accessible community environment.”

EPCC students who currently are recipients of the Computer Science S-STEM Scholarship (through a unique partnership between Computer Science program at EPCC and the Computer Science department at UTEP) and students who developed research under the supervision of Dr. Servin, attended to the conference and presented a poster presentation with the results of the research.

Students who attended the conferences were able to participate in a Hackathon with more than 110 students from different universities and community colleges.

The Hackathon was composed of preliminaries workshops including concepts in cybersecurity, operating system environment setups and tools tutorials.

In addition, students attended developmental workshops that aid students in increasing their communication skills and resume writing.

As part of the conference students met with current Google, Microsoft, Shell, Intel, Locked Martin, NASA and other companies. EPCC is committed to preparing students to be competitive in workforce locally and nationally.

UTEP Professor Receives Prestigious Hispanic Education Award

Great Minds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) today announced its 2017 Class of HENAAC Award Winners. UTEP’s Jorge Gardea-Torresdey, Ph.D., Dudley Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, was selected in the education category.

“Dr. Gardea-Torresdey is an extraordinarily accomplished educator, mentor and researcher,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “This prestigious national award celebrates his 25-year commitment to guiding our UTEP students toward exciting futures in STEM fields, where their success enhances UTEP’s reputation as a major contributor to a high-quality and diverse workforce.”

The organization created the education award to honor individuals involved in higher education across the U.S. Nominees are typically educators, administrators or distinguished professors who demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting STEM education. Gardea-Torresdey was selected from a long list of national nominees.

In his UTEP career, Gardea-Torresdey has mentored 33 Ph.D. students (26 in environmental science and engineering, six in chemistry and one in materials science), and 29 students have received their master’s degrees under his mentorship. He has mentored more than 39 undergraduate students in research.

He also helped establish two (environmental science and engineering, and chemistry) Ph.D. programs at the University.

Great Minds in STEM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping America technologically strong by promoting STEM careers. Established in 1989 and based in the Los Angeles area, the organization’s nationwide programming focuses on STEM educational awareness from kindergarten through college, and on seeking out and documenting the world-class contributions of Hispanic professionals in STEM to serve as role models for the next generation of American engineers and scientists.

“I am very happy that my efforts to produce the future generation of environmental scientists and engineers and Ph.D. chemists is being recognized with this award,” Gardea-Torresdey said. “I am extremely proud that many of our first-generation Hispanic students are now professors at esteemed universities or work for national government agencies like the EPA.”

Gardea-Torresdey has authored more than 420 publications and holds five U.S. patents for environmental remediation. In 2016, he received the first Graduate Mentor Award in UTEP history. His research achievements are highlighted in the Lawrence Hall of Science of the University of California, Berkeley. Other accolades include the 2009 SACNAS Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award and the 2012 Piper Professor Award, which is one of the most prestigious honors conferred to a professor in the State of Texas.

He will be honored at the 29th Annual HENAAC Conference in Pasadena, California, Oct. 18-22, 2017. A full list of winners is available online.

EPCC STEM Graduates Receive Scholarships

Three students from El Paso Community College (EPCC) were awarded the Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) in the field of Computer Science with an emphasis in Cyber-Security. This program has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since fall of 2011 and has been supporting students’ financial and educational needs.

The students Kristopher Gutierrez, Briana Sanchez and Rocio Cardona, who received the S-STEM, are outstanding EPCC students in Cyber-Security and will transfer to UTEP and continue their studies in the same concentration. The S-STEM is a very ambitious program that pays the students’ tuition until they graduate from a four-year institution.

“This scholarship means the beginning of many opportunities that will help me excel in my major,” said Briana Sanchez, Computer Science major and S-STEM recipient. “This opportunity will allow me to meet new people, be exposed to new material, and strengthen my knowledge in this field.”

“The students who received the S-STEM scholarship are outstanding EPCC students in computer science,” said Dr. Christian Servin, Instructor of Computer Science “Kristopher, Briana and Rocio have shown evidence of success throughout the courses they took at EPCC.”

The S-STEM program will fund students seeking a degree in Computer Science for a period of up to four years.

Funded students at UTEP and CSU-S will receive an annual stipend based on their academic level as follows Freshman: $7,500, Sophomore: $7,500, Junior: $9,000 and Senior: $10,000


Gallery+Story: Workforce Solutions Borderplex Announces 2017 STEAM Scholarship, Competition Winners

The 2017 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) Fiesta, which is coordinated annually by Workforce Solutions Borderplex and the STEAM Fiesta Committee, announced the winners during an awards ceremony last week.

This was the culmination of efforts that impacted regional middle school students  along with high school competitors.  The multidimensional, two-day event for middle and high school students was designed to increase student awareness of career opportunities in STEAM disciplines.

In conjunction with a long list of corporate sponsors, Workforce Solutions Borderplex is pleased to announce the following scholarships and competition winners:


El Paso Electric

Andrew Raul Munoz- Mission Early College

Megan Paredes- Loretto Academy

Melissa Nicole Dominguez- Del Valle HS

Natalia Gastelo- Del Valle HS

Ulises Cardoza – San Elizario HS

Samantha Dale Aziz- Northwest Early College

Cynthia Yadira Reyes – Fabens HS

Liza R. Barron  – Presidio HS

Damaris Peraza – Presidio HS

Isiah Jamal Hairston – Del Valle HS

El Paso Community College

Gerardo Alberto Garcia – Mission Early College HS

Erick Alvarez Velazquez – Valle Verde Early College HS

AZTEC Contractors

Hanadi Sonouper – Montwood HS



  • 2nd Place Winning Team: Presidio High School
  • 1st Place Winning Team: Irvin High School

JAVA CODING, Sponsored by Sigma

  • 2nd Place Winning Team: Chapin High School
  • 1st Place Winning Team: Coronado High School

APP Design Competition, Sponsored by Western Tech

  • 2nd Place Winning Team: Coronado High School
  • 1st Place Winning Team: Northwest Early College

STEM Business Challenge, Sponsored by the Hospitals of Providence

  • Track 1 2nd Place Winning Team: Iscape from Valle Verde Early College
  • Track 1  1st Place Winning Team: Creo Vera from Riverside
  • Track 2 2nd  Place Winning Team: P.T.T.8. from Del Valle High School
  • Track 2 1st Place Winning Team: K.A.A.P. from Valle Verde Early College

Growing on Mars Architecture Competition, Sponsored by Texas Tech

  • 3rd Place:  Fabens High School
  • 2nd Place: Burges High School
  • 1st Place:  Riverside High School

Prudential Math Counts Middle School Winners

  • 3rd Place: W. Clarke Middle School
  • 2nd Place: Canutillo Middle School
  • 1st Place: Marfa Junior High

Prduential Math Challenge High School Winners

  • 2nd Place:  Pebble Hills High School
  • 1st Place: Riverside High School

Over $34,000 in cash prizes and scholarships was awarded to students and schools.

For more information on how to get involved with Workforce Solutions Borderplex and the 2018 STEAM program, please contact, Joseph Sapien, STEAM Project Manager for Workforce Solutions Borderplex at (915) 240- 5571 or by email at

Mexican Consulate Recognizes EPCC Students

El Paso Community College (EPCC) students named Siemens Technical Scholars earlier this year were honored by the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

Consul General of Mexico in El Paso, Marcos Bucio welcomed students Bryant Muñiz, Lizet Navarro and Adrian Morales to his office for a ceremony where the students shared their educational experience and pride in their Mexican heritage.

“El Paso Community College’s programs of excellence are important to Mexico,” Bucio said. “The Siemens Technical Scholar Awards show the academic quality that the college has and we are proud to work together.”

EPCC received five of the 51 scholarships awarded nationwide by Siemens. Muñiz, Navarro and Morales are current students majoring in Medical Imaging Technology-Radiology. Other scholarship recipients, Javier Casillas and Angelica Muñoz, are recent graduates.

“Without a doubt, I think being in this EPCC program, we are the most prepared students here in the Southwest,” Bryant Muñiz said. “The program prepares us for our registry, so we go into clinics feeling confident knowing exactly what we’re doing.”

The Siemens Technical Scholars Program recognizes exemplary community college STEM programs, like EPCC, that deliver exceptional training for technical STEM jobs in areas ranging from power plant technology to healthcare and awarded scholarships to students.

300 ppi _Mexican Consul_Group 300 ppi_Morales receives Award

Area Students, Parents attend UTEP’s Southwest Emerging Technology Symposium

Regional students in grades K-12 spent Saturday learning more about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields  at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

It was all part of UTEP’s continuing outreach to local K-12 schools, as the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering offered the information session for students as part of its annual Southwest Emerging Technology Symposium (SETS).

“It is of utmost importance to engage students in STEM early, especially in our community,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., professor and chair of UTEP’s mechanical engineering department and organizer of the symposium. “Through several programs, we are rolling out unprecedented outreach efforts to build a strong STEM pipeline in every ZIP code in our region. Research confirms it is during the K-12 years that interest in these in-demand fields is initiated, then cultivated to ensure a future workforce in STEM. We’ve recruited these industry experts, some who are first-generation graduates, to motivate and inspire our future engineers and scientists.”

Session participants included RAND Corp. Senior Policy Researcher Michael McGee, Ph.D.; NASA Johnson Space Center Chief Technologist for the Propulsion and Power Division John H. Scott; NASA Glenn Research Center Chief of the Chemical and Thermal Propulsion Systems Branch Mark Klem; FBM Director of Programs with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Nick Gonzales; Acting Crosscutting Technology Manager in the Office of Strategic Planning for the U.S. Department of Energy Robert Romanosky; and Director of the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation at UTEP Ryan Wicker, Ph.D.

The symposium provided career-building opportunities for students from UTEP and across the country in a professional conference setting, connecting these students with researchers, scholars and industry professionals for possible recruitment opportunities.

All photos courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre for UTEP

UTEP Secures $500K STEM Grant from NASA

NASA is investing $500,000 in UTEP for the development of an education model that uses narratives to integrate learning of different subjects into an interdisciplinary storyboard.

“NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) provides support for colleges and universities to build programs that connect students from underrepresented and underserved communities with NASA, giving them the strong foundation they need to pursue and excel in STEM fields,” said MUREP Project Manager Misti Moore. “We are excited to once again engage UTEP in providing knowledge and skills to students through authentic and unique STEM experiences.”

The story-centric approach in this model and its use and reuse of existing STEM content, particularly government resources, is novel. Users can take existing curriculua, lessons and other media and integrate those materials into narratives with characters, storylines and varying plots that can be customized for each educator, instructional program or learner.

They are able to select different components of a story (like chapters) and combine them into their own story though each of the chapters contains lessons, video, experiments, etc. that feed the story.

“Very few science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs engage learners through the contexts of stories, particularly from topic to topic through a cohesive and connected narrative,” said team leader Nate Robinson from UTEP’s Office of Research and Sponsored Projects. “This proposal changes that through the use of an interdisciplinary team that creates stories driving interactive, inquiry-based learning through multimedia narratives.

“As a team, we’re really excited to see a vision we’ve shared and been developing for years receive funding and traction, and how much more so that it’s from a world renowned leader in innovation, NASA,” Robinson added. “We’re also excited and honored that this model can be used nationally but is largely comprised of local talent – from the creative writer to the artist to the curriculum specialist.”

The model is intended for K-12, though it will start with a fifth through eighth grade focus in August. The development team includes a mix of educators, engineers, graphic artists, creative writers, philosophers, and others.

UTEP Launches Regional STEM Degree Accelerator

The University of Texas at El Paso has received a $725,000 grant from Educate Texas as part of its Texas Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Degree Accelerator initiative.

The pioneering grant program is an opportunity to sync faculty and employers toward the goal of empowering students with the knowledge and skills that equal strong careers. UTEP will spearhead the engineering portion of the initiative, specifically by increasing female enrollment and graduation in engineering and training more engineering faculty of any gender.

“UTEP is pleased to receive support from the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “With this investment in our students, Educate Texas and their generous partners have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Paso del Norte region. This grant empowers UTEP and other members of this region’s consortium to expand our efforts to prepare a young, dynamic and diverse workforce in STEM fields.”

UTEP was one of five institutions of higher education selected to receive one of these prestigious grants ranging from $550,000 to $800,000 over three years. Its team is made up of College of Engineering Associate Dean Patricia Nava, Ph.D., who is the project’s principal investigator; Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D.; Professor of Engineering Education and Leadership Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D.; Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Stella Quiñones, Ph.D.; Professor of Psychology Michael Zarate, Ph.D.; and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Benjamin Flores, Ph.D.

Nava is hopeful that this program will contribute to a new national model.

“It really does recognize the whole picture and how everything is interdependent,” she said.

Over the next decade, Texas is projected to have the second highest percentage – approximately 9 percent – of the nation’s future STEM job opportunities. Strategically increasing the number of underrepresented students earning STEM degrees throughout the state by partnering with Hispanic-serving institutions like UTEP brings necessary diversity to the workforce that will fulfill those employment needs.

In order to increase the number of students who graduate from college with STEM credentials, regional and local collaborations are critical.

“The Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator motivates our education and workforce partners to collaborate at a regional level to develop and refine STEM pathways,” said John Fitzpatrick, executive director of Educate Texas. “These pathways will result in an increased number of students across the state earning STEM degrees that meet regionally identified workforce needs.”

Each grantee has convened a regional consortium of two-year college, K-12 and workforce partners. Within UTEP’s partnership, four major approaches will be undertaken. New curriculum will build interest and confidence in students to keep them committed to engineering. An advising system and work experiences with industry partners will instill students with a sense of identity as an engineer.

Strategic outreach to K-12 schools and the parents of students enrolled there will cultivate curiosity about STEM well before college. Finally, students will have multiple, clear pathways to earn degrees, including reverse transfer and co-enrollment at both El Paso Community College and UTEP.

Consortium members have examined regional workforce data, identified the STEM pathways in which they plan to work, and begun engaging faculty and workforce to redesign gateway courses in STEM majors and ensure alignment with workforce needs. Professional development also will be provided to faculty to improve teaching and learning in STEM fields.

UTEP’s community collaborators include Borderplex Alliance, the Council on Regional Economic Expansion & Educational Development (CREEED), El Paso Community College (EPCC), Region 19 Education Service Center and Workforce Solutions Borderplex.

In expressing his organization’s commitment, CREEED Board Chairman Richard Castro said, “We believe that our investments should prepare our region’s students to thrive in college and be competitive once they join the workforce, especially within sectors such as STEM which show promising job growth and opportunities for advancement.” He added that the initiative will make local institutions of higher learning much more attractive and competitive.

The El Paso regional effort aims to train 60 college faculty and four high school teachers; serve more than 1,400 college students and 400 high school students; and produce 200 associate and 1,100 Bachelor of Science in engineering degree holders.

According to Nava, faculty training is essential to the success of this initiative. She referred to a stream of highly regarded studies indicating the need for addressing the way faculty run a classroom by the Department of Labor, National Academy of Engineering, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Frontiers in Education and the American Educational Research Journal.

“The first part of the training is diversity awareness,” Nava said. “The second part is [creating] active learning and an engaging environment in the classroom because this literature shows that women like to see what the end result is going to be and to have some sort of justification for what they’re doing. So part of the training is going to be to adopt that mindset and to communicate it to the students where we’re harnessing math and science for the benefit of mankind. The whole idea is to create activities, projects, teaching styles that are in fact more engaging and less of the lecture and one way of communication.”

Olin College, renowned for new approaches to engineering education, will conduct workshops for faculty as part of these training efforts.

The program kicks off on campus with the first trainings in June 2016.

STEM Accelerator is developed in alignment with priorities for education and workforce outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission. It is funded through the generosity of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Greater Texas Foundation, CREEED, JP Morgan Chase, and The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation.

The Educate Texas public-private partnership includes major corporations like IBM along with government representation from the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Workforce Commission, the Office of the Governor and the Texas legislature.

Nonprofit entities in the partnership include the Communities Foundation of Texas, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Houston Endowment, The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, TG Texas Guaranteed and the Texas Instruments Foundation.

Author:  Lisa Y. Garibay – UTEP Communications

UTEP, 5 other Schools set to Receive STEM Grants

Five institutions of higher education, including The University of Texas at El Paso as the lead grantee of the El Paso Regional Team, have been selected to receive STEM Accelerator grants, which range from $550,000 to $800,000 over three years.

Over the next decade, Texas is projected to have the second highest percentage of the nation’s future STEM job opportunities (approximately 10%). The purpose of the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (STEM Accelerator) initiative is to address this growth by strategically increasing the number of underrepresented students earning STEM degrees throughout the state.

Each institution has convened a regional consortium that includes two-year colleges, four-year colleges, K-12 partners, and workforce partners.  Consortium members have examined regional workforce data, identified the STEM pathway(s) in which they plan to work, and have begun engaging faculty and workforce to (1) redesign gateway courses in STEM majors and ensure alignment to workforce needs and (2) provide professional development for faculty to improve teaching and learning in STEM fields.

The El Paso Regional Team includes:

  • UTEP
  • El Paso Community College
  • Region 19 Education Service Center
  • Workforce Solutions, Upper Rio Grande Valley
  • The Borderplex Alliance
  • Prudential El Paso Pramerica Systems Ireland
  • Council for Economic Expansion & Economic Development

The official announcement is scheduled for Friday, March 4th.

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