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Greater Texas grant to support postsecondary student success

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
July 30, 2013

Melissa Martinez

Melissa Martinez

Melissa Martinez, a professor in the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education and School Psychology at Texas State University, has received a grant from the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) to support her work in areas related to student postsecondary success.

The three-year, $90,000 GTF grant to Martinez is one of four given out to support tenure-track faculty at Texas higher education institutions. Texas State received two such grants for 2013, with Edna Alfaro receiving the other.

"As a second-year Latina junior faculty member in the Education and Community Leadership program at Texas State University, one of my areas of scholarship focuses on issues of equity and access for students of color along the P-16 pipeline, specifically college access and readiness issues for Latina/o students," said Martinez. "My interest in this area is rooted in my concern for the education of our increasingly diverse student population in the state and across the nation.

"In particular, my experience as a former bilingual public school teacher and counselor in Texas enabled me to see firsthand how systemic inequities impact college opportunities for students of color and low-income students," she said. "Therefore, being a part of GTF’s first cohort of fellows provides a unique opportunity for me to expand my scholarship in this area, all the while being supported by an experienced and accomplished leader in the field, Dr.Victor Sáenz."

Following a competitive proposal process, the foundation selected four individuals to comprise the first cohort of the GTF Faculty Fellowship Program (GTF Fellows). Each GTF Fellow will receive up to $30,000 per year for a period of three years to support a proposed research agenda.

"Greater Texas Foundation’s mission is to support efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, andcomplete a postsecondary education," said Malon Southerland, GTF board chair. "GTF Fellows is a result of our board’s desire for the foundation to have a role in building research and teaching capacity for Texas faculty working in areas related to the foundation’s mission and strategy."

After being nominated through a by-invitation-only nomination process, the selected fellows were invited to participate in a competitive proposal process in which they were required to demonstrate significant potential in and commitment to a career in research and teaching at the postsecondary level. In addition, applicants were required to identify a mentor to assist them throughout the three-year fellowship. Each of the selected fellows’ home institutions committed to a partial match for the program.

“Only one in five Texas students completes a college credential within six years of graduating from high school,” said Wynn Rosser, GTF president and CEO. “With the addition of a new cohort each year, over time, GTF Fellows will create a broad and deep network of highly talented and committed Texas researchers working to understand barriers for students and identify research-based solutions to help more Texas students access and succeed at the postsecondary level.”

Through participation in annual GTF Fellows summits over the course of the fellowship, fellows will have access to professional development opportunities and guidance related to their intended career trajectory.

The selection process for the second cohort of fellows will begin fall 2013. For additional information about the GTF Fellows program and the first cohort of fellows, visit www.greatertexasfoundation.org and click on the "GTF Fellows" tab.

Greater Texas Foundation

Greater Texas Foundation is a statewide education grant maker, based in Bryan. The foundation’s mission is to support efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. GTF puts particular focus on helping underserved and disadvantaged populations.GTF pursues its mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants. From 2001 through 2012, the foundation’s grant making totaled nearly $40 million from more than 400 grants.