TAMIU Announces Launch of The Texas Academy of International and STEM Studies
Posted: 4/21/14

TAMIU Announces Launch of The Texas Academy
of International and STEM Studies

Texas A&M International University on Monday announced the historic launch of an innovative, University-level academy on its campus for highly gifted and motivated high school juniors and seniors focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and International Studies.

Enabled by legislation authored by State Senator Judith Zaffirini and approved by the 79th Texas Legislature in 2005, The Texas Academy of International and STEM Studies provides academically motivated high school juniors and seniors with a challenging University-level curriculum starting this Fall.

Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Patricia Uribe, Academy director; Frank Staggs, Academy benefactor; State Senator Judith Zaffirini; Dr. Gladys Keene, regional dean of the University of Texas Health Science Cent

TAMIU on Monday announced the launch of a University-level academy on
its campus for highly gifted and motivated high school juniors and seniors focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and International Studies. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Patricia Uribe, Academy director; Frank Staggs, Academy benefactor; State Senator Judith Zaffirini; Dr. Gladys Keene, regional dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Laredo campus; and Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president.

A cohort of 50 students selected this year will receive free tuition, fees and books and will be able to pursue University degrees in any area while exploring research and collaborative educational opportunities with project partners including the University of Texas Health Science Center of San Antonio’s (UTHSCSA) Laredo campus.

Upon completion of the their two years in the Academy, students will have earned their high school diploma concurrently with college credits toward a bachelor’s degree and will be in their junior year of University. Applications for this competitive Academy are currently being accepted until May 26. Applications can be found on www.tamiu.edu/coas/theacademy/

Senator Zaffirini said the Academy will instill in students a lifelong love of learning.   

“I am delighted that the Texas Academy of International and STEM Studies soon will provide its first 50 high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to take challenging, university-level courses tuition free,” said Zaffirini, who in 2005 authored and passed Senate Bill (SB) 151 establishing the academy at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. “By promoting collaborative learning and offering a rigorous curriculum, the academy not only will allow these highly-motivated students to earn credit toward a college degree, but also will instill in them a lifelong love of learning.”

TAMIU President Ray Keck said that this daring initiative highlights TAMIU’s position as a catalyst of change that has empowered thousands of graduates from around the world to realize their infinite possibilities over 40 years.

“We are truly excited to bring this bold and innovative educational opportunity to all Texans, right here in Laredo,” Keck said, “The Academy will change young lives and exponentially expand their horizons by encouraging the creativity, curiosity, reasoning ability and self-discipline that leads to the independent thought and action that best fuels student development and a lifetime of accomplishment.”

Keck thanked Senator Zaffirini for her vision and tireless work in making the progressive concept of a STEM and International Studies academy possible at TAMIU.

“We are immensely grateful to Senator Zaffirini for her steadfast support of TAMIU and for helping us further our mission of preparing students for leadership roles in an increasingly complex, cultural diverse, state, national and global society,” Keck said, “She has championed for our University since its inception and continues to tenaciously do so as we usher in a new age for education with the launch of this Academy.”

Dr. Keck also thanked philanthropist Frank Staggs for making a generous donation of five years to support this initiative and Dr. Gladys Keene, regional dean of the University of Texas health Science Center of San Antonio’s Laredo campus, for her willingness to partner with TAMIU through future endeavors that will allow Academy students to participate in UTHSCSA Laredo campus’ summer camps, research opportunities as well as mentorships and internships.

Dr. Patricia Uribe, Academy director, said the competitive and purposefully designed program allows students to enroll in an accelerated and rigorous STEM curriculum that will enable them to graduate with the necessary tools for postsecondary success.

“The Texas Academy of International and STEM Studies will provide students from our community and surrounding areas another option for completing high school,” Dr. Uribe said, “This new and progressive school, located on the TAMIU campus, allows students the opportunity to earn up to two years of university credit towards a bachelor’s degree  (tuition-free) while also earning their high school diploma.”

Students selected for the Academy will participate fully in the life of the University with gifted faculty in state of the art facilities, Uribe said, adding that University credits earned will be transferable to any public university in the state of Texas.

Applications for the Fall 2014 cohort will be accepted until May 26, Uribe said.

Prospective students must apply as high school sophomores. They must be residents of the state of Texas and have competitive PSAT scores and be TSI complete, Uribe explained.

Applicants must also submit a transcript for 9th and 10th grades and include STAAR EOC and other standardized test scores. They must also complete Algebra I and II and geometry courses before entering the Academy and complete an application packet, Uribe said.

“The Academy will provide students with an opportunity to learn in a safe and respectful campus environment with a small group of peers,” Uribe said, “Educational research points to the fact that a small and personalized learning community makes student success possible and we would like to invite all eligible prospective students to apply for entrance now.”

The Academy is currently pending final approval by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents at its May 1 meeting.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Those interested in specific information about the Academy may contact Dr. Uribe at 326.2523, e-mail puribe@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 435A.

University office hours are 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 Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu

5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041-1900 Work956.326.2100