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MSEIP grant seeks to increase minority participation in STEM fields

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 8, 2014

Texas State University has received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) to increase the participation of underrepresented ethnic minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.

During this three-year, multifaceted project, Texas State will use the funds to support activities at the university’s Ingram School of Engineering, Department of Engineering Technology and College of Education. Additionally, five minority institutions of higher education will be involved through the MSEIP special project "REENERGIZE." The participating minority institutions are two-year colleges that serve as main feeders for universities and industry sectors.

"We are very excited that this project is providing a big opportunity for us to make a difference in our current and future students’ life, to increase the supply of minority professionals and to tie STEM fields to broad and meaningful national goals, such as developing environmentally friendly energy resources and reducing pollution," said Bahram Asiabanpour, associate professor with Texas State's Ingram School of Engineering and the principal investigator for the REENERGIZE project.

The project will address three regional and national needs, including weak national STEM knowledge and the need for more and better-prepared students; a shortage of underrepresented minorities in STEM professions; and growth in the green technology industry.

"This award is another significant achievement by our Ingram School of Engineering," said Assistant Vice President of Research Michael Blanda. "It will enhance Texas State University’s ability to deliver high quality research based instruction and training in engineering to our students."

Under this program, a permanent renewable energy education and research lab will be established at each institution; professional development on green technologies and practices as well as best practices in teaching strategies and culturally effective instruction will be offered to the faculty of those institutions; awareness, training, mentorship and financial support will be provided to attract and motivate students from the minority institutions to consider education and career opportunities in STEM fields.