Posted: 9/28/11

TAMIU Awarded $49.9 Million in Federal Funding



The awarding of five federal grants totaling over $49.9 million to Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) for diverse educational initiatives was announced by Congressman Henry Cuellar (MBA ’82) Wednesday at TAMIU’s University Success Center.

The first grant for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP IV) is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. It will award approximately $6.3 million for each of the program’s seven years of operation, for a total of $42,974,903.

A second grant of $4,349,955 targets increasing the number of Hispanics and low-income students earning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees. The third, for $2,333,768, helps migrant students or children of migrant farm workers to earn a high school equivalency degree or higher education diploma as well as gaining employment through the TAMIU HEP Program.

The fourth grant for $136,386 provides scholarships to low-income nursing students and supports advanced nursing traineeships. The fifth, for $105,000, funds an Applied Bio-System 3500 Genetic Analyzer for the Molecular Genetics Core Facility at the University, driving science research.

TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck noted that the awards will speed multiple initiatives for the diverse students served by the University.

“From those working towards a high school degree and those pursuing higher education and careers in STEM fields or nursing leadership and service to those researching the science and technology of the future, these far-ranging awards help all to imagine their possibilities at TAMIU,” Dr. Keck said.

Cong. Cuellar, who holds five advanced degrees, said that the funding underscores his commitment to students in his hometown and beyond.

“As a graduate of TAMIU, I know first-hand the dedication the University has in ensuring that every graduate is a successful and contributing member of our society,” Cong. Cuellar said, “As an advocate of higher education, I applaud TAMIU for securing these federal funds and know that the programs and initiatives to be funded will have a lasting impact on students and our community.

“With the help of scholarships such as the ones that will be afforded to students through these programs, I was able to earn my advanced degrees,” Cuellar continued, “The opportunities these grants will provide help level the playing field so that no matter their economic or ethnic background, all students are given the chance to further their education and fill in demand jobs, in turn contributing to our recovering economy,” he said.

The GEAR UP program, funded by the US Department of Education, provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students. TAMIU initiated its first GEAR UP Program in 2000.

Funded by the US Department of Education, the Title III Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS) STEM and Articulation Program is known as SYSTEM: Serving Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Initially funded for five years, the project goal is to reach 6500 local and area high school and community college students and increase production of highly competent and well-qualified engineers and scientists. Dr. Dan Mott, TAMIU associate dean, chair and associate professor, directs the program.

The TAMIU HEP Program, initiated in 2006, serves about 100 students annually with support services, stipends, and cultural activities. It has served 464 students to date. GEDs have been attained by 166 and 85 students have been placed in postsecondary education/training or employment. Program sites are in Crystal City, Del Rio, and Eagle Pass. It is directed by Efrain Sanchez, project director, and Linda Maldonado, associate director, under TAMIU’s Office of Special Programs, lead by Dr. Julio F. Madrigal, professor and executive director of Special Programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provided grants supporting Dr. F.M. Canseco School of Nursing scholarships for disadvantaged students and advanced education nursing traineeships.

TAMIU dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. Regina Aune, said the need is great for nursing scholarships and advanced education nursing traineeships.

“We are delighted to have been fortunate to have secured this vital assistance from HRSA. This will help to insure that our deserving students are able to complete their studies and advanced traineeships and take their place in service to our medically underserved community,” Dr. Aune said.

The scholarship grant was submitted by Natalie Burkhalter, TAMIU associate professor of Nursing. The traineeship grant was developed by Irma Lara, TAMIU assistant professor of Nursing.

The final grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), purchases state-of-the art research equipment for TAMIU’s department of biology and chemistry to expand its research, said Dr. Michael R. Kidd, principal investigator.

For more on the TAMIU GEAR UP program, contact Dr. Julio F. Madrigal at 956.326.2720, email jfmadrigal@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the TAMIU Student Center, room 126.

For information on Title II HSI STEM SYSTEM, contact Dr. Mott at 956.326.2583, email dmott@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center (LBVSC), room 312.

For TAMIU HEP Program information, call Sanchez at 956.326.2706, email hep@tamiu.edu or visit TAMIU offices in the Student Center, room 126.

For information on nursing scholarships and advanced education nursing traineeships, contact the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at 956.326.2450, visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 304 or click on tamiu.edu/cson

For more on the NSF research grant, call Dr. Kidd at 956.326.2585, email Michael.kidd@tamiu.edu or visit offices in LBVSC 379.

University information is also available at tamiu.edu, by email at prmis@tamiu.edu and on Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Twitter and YouTube.

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