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NSF award to encourage STEM studies among underrepresented youth

National Science Foundation

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
December 11, 2017

Shetay Ashford, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational, Workforce and Leadership Studies at Texas State University, has been awarded a National Science Foundation INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) grant to develop a collaborative program to prepare historically underrepresented youth to pursue undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees.

The program, ACCEYSS, stands for "Association of Collaborative Communities Equipping Youth for STEM Success." The grant of approximately $300,000 was awarded through the NSF Office of Integrated Activities. Co-principal investigators are Kristy Daniel and Dana García of the Department of Biology. Rosio Pedroso of Pedroso Consulting will serve as the external evaluator.

During this two-year design and development launch pilot, the ACCEYSS research team will form a university-school-community partnership of faith and community leaders to implement a community-based and culturally relevant learning model.

"Historically, faith and community-based organizations have notably motivated the social, educational, and economic advancement of underrepresented minorities," Ashford said. "In collaboration, these institutions have the potential to encourage an unprecedented number of minority youth to pursue postsecondary STEM education and careers while broadening their participation in the science and engineering enterprise."

Initial ACCEYSS network members include the City of San Marcos’ Office of the City Manager, Greater San Marcos Partnership, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education, Youth Services Bureau, Hays County Youth Initiative, Texas State’s Hispanic Serving Institution STEM IMPACT program, Calaboose African American History Museum, Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, Wesley Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the P2P Movement. The framework will be used to build diverse capacity, leverage asset-based community development and sustain mutually reinforcing policies and practices for STEM diversity and inclusion.

For more information, contact Shetay Ashford at (512) 245-3027 or via email at

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 181,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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