NSF Awards TAMIU $399,988 Grant

Texas A&M International University has been awarded a four-year grant of $399,988 by the National Science Foundation's Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarships Program.

The Grant will establish an initiative entitled "South Texas Border Mathematics and Pre-Engineering Graduates." It will provide annual scholarships to 29 low-income, upper-division undergraduates selecting careers in computer science, computer technology, engineering, engineering technology or mathematics. Due to their under-representation in these fields, priority for such scholarships will be given to low-income minority students, women and persons with disabilities.

Dr. Ray Keck, University president, said the program removes an often-prevalent financial need barrier while building on existing collaborations that target student success.

"This program will enable us to effectively reduce the largest barrier to students pursuing higher undergraduate education in these and other fields: financial need. In collaboration with support programs already in place, it will enable us to help students continue their interests, encourage them to achieve their best academic performance and prepare them to effectively enter the workforce in their chosen profession," explained Dr. Keck.

Among primary objectives for participants selected for the Program are: increasing the number of professional development research and internship opportunities; to provide services supporting timely degree completion; increasing the numbers of low-income undergraduate ethnic minorities, women and persons with disabilities entering graduate schools in the designated fields; expand partnerships with alumni and industry to provide career seminars and job preparation experiences, and to address the broader issue of low participation in the fields through mentoring and role-modeling activities for lower-division and pre-college students.

In notifying the University of the Award, Elizabeth J. Teles, acting director of the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education, offered her congratulations and confidence in the initiative's success.

"Congratulations on succeeding in a highly competitive entry...we have confidence that your project will enable significant improvements in the education of undergraduate students," Teles wrote.

The competitive grant was one of 65 select proposals awarded among 220 proposals submitted by a University collaborative including the Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Office of Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment, Office of the Vice President for Student Services, Texas Center for Border Economics and Enterprise Development and the Office for Institutional Advancement.

Principal investigator for the project is Dr. Juan Morán-López. Project coordinator will be Omar A. González. Co-principal investigators are Dr. Hoonandra R. Goonatilake and Dr. Qingwen Ni.

For additional information, contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180; visit offices in Killam Library 268 or click on www.tamiu.edu

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu