Top: Armando Talamantes, a seventh grader at Terrell Wells
Middle School, stands next to wind turbines made during the
PREP 1 program at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The display was
part of a recent expo at South San High School.
Bottom: Malerie Pereida, 16-year-old student at South San
High School (maroon shirt), Jill Gable, drama teacher at South
San High School and Michael Martinez, 17-year-old student at
South San High School, look at PREP projects during a recent
exhibition of summer projects at South San.
PREP students prepare for math, science, engineering careers
By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist
(July 27, 2006)--Ninety-nine percent of students who participate in the Prefreshman Engineering Program (or PREP) graduate from high school.
Ninety-seven percent attend or graduate college. Seventy-six percent of participants are members of minority groups, according to a 2005 survey of more than half of college-aged, former PREP participants.
"PREP changes lives," said Rudy Reyna, director of San Antonio PREP, TexPREP and Proyecto Access. He made the remark to approximately 200 students at an exhibition of PREP projects at South San High School.
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UTSA launched PREP with 44 students in 1979. Today, there are more than 3,000 students participating at eight college and university partners in San Antonio, a dozen campuses across the state, and at college and university sites outside of Texas.
On Friday, 1,272 students will graduate from San Antonio PREP in a ceremony at the UTSA Convocation Center. It comes after completing three years of the mathematics-based summer program. The seven-week program is designed to interest students in careers in science, engineering, mathematics and technology.
The core curriculum includes logic and applications, introduction to engineering and computer science for first-year students, algebraic structures and introduction to physics for second-year students, and introduction to probability and statistics and technical writing for third-year participants. All PREP students learn problem solving and take career awareness seminars.
PREP provides such rigorous training that many former students later remark that high school and some college classes are more easily understood, said Reyna.
Because PREP mixes students from underserved school districts with others from higher achieving districts, students are introduced to their future job market competition.
"Education isn't equal," Reyna said. "PREP starts to close the gap. By the third year, students who were behind others compete very well with those who were ahead."
For more information, visit the PREP Web site.