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DOE Awards $881,000 Grant to HCC and UST
11/16/2011
Graphic: UST StarHouston Community College, in partnership with University of St. Thomas, was awarded the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant will fund the Astra STEM Project, a program that provides a systematic year-round study of mathematics and science-focused academic programs and supportive activities to high-need students from sixth grade through their baccalaureate degrees. The goal of the project is to increase enrollment and persistence in STEM fields of study with a particular emphasis on female students. The three-year, $881,000 grant will deliver the Astra STEM Project to 100 students in its initial year, with a growth in participation expected in years two and three.

Graphic: HCC logoTo help minority women achieve STEM degrees and to enter science and engineering careers, the project will follow each participant through the program and provide support. Students’ progress will be tracked to evaluate the impact of the program and to observe how to enhance the program for improved results.

Every participant gains membership to the Astra STEM Club, a program offering support and activities to students throughout the academic year and in the summer months. The Club provides a mentorship program and a lecture series by leading women in STEM careers to serve as positive female role models. There are also job shadowing opportunities and facility tours of science and engineering corporations in the greater Houston area.

In the summer, the Astra STEM Project facilitates academic programs developed especially for minority participants from middle and high school to baccalaureate-level students. The Summer STEM Academy, Math Experience Boot Camp and Summer Research projects not only encourage student interest in math and science, but each has also been proven to dramatically improve introductory STEM course scores and persistence at both HCC and UST.

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