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Prefreshman Engineering Program closes 33rd summer with inspiring speech

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(Aug. 4, 2011)--Approximately 3,500 people gathered in the Convocation Center on the UTSA Main Campus last week to celebrate the close of the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) for this year. The summer program encourages middle and high school students, especially minorities and females, to pursue careers in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

PREP was founded in 1979 with 44 students. Today, the program serves 1,375 PREP students at 10 locations in San Antonio and nearly 4,500 PREP students outside of San Antonio and in other U.S. states. The academically intense curriculum teaches abstract reasoning and problem solving skills. It is delivered over four summers through lectures, seminars and hands-on activities that allow students to learn and apply advanced STEM concepts. The curriculum includes, but is not limited to, mathematics, problem solving, engineering, physics, technical writing, water science, computer science, research and STEM career awareness sessions.

PREP alumnus Jude Espinoza, a respected cardiologist in the Central Cardiovascular Institute of San Antonio, presented the ceremony's keynote address. With detail, he recalled his time in PREP with mathematics teacher Manuel Berriozabal, UTSA professor of mathematics and PREP founder.

"We got to listen to a math magician who was a rock star of sorts," Espinoza recalled. Over a series of summers, Berriozabal made math, logic and problem solving seem effortless. Espinoza also told the students about Jan. 11, 1998, the fateful day when his esteemed math teacher entered the hospital in the midst of a heart attack. Espinoza treated Berriozabal that day, a serendipitous way of honoring the teacher who turned him on to the skills underlying his profession.

Espinoza encouraged the graduates, telling them, "If you can understand math and logic, it makes the hard stuff simple."

PREP alumni likely would agree.

Historically, 99 percent of the students who completed one semester of PREP continued on to college. And last year, 75 percent of those students were members of minority groups, 53 percent were female and more than one-third represented low-income families.

"We are extremely proud of this year's PREP students," said Rudy Reyna, PREP executive director. "They are getting a head start on concepts they will encounter in high school and college, and many will earn scholarships to study STEM at local universities for successfully completing PREP. They are extremely hard working and have a very bright future ahead of them."

Applications for the summer 2012 PREP program will be available in November. To learn more, visit the PREP USA website or call 210-458-2060.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

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Events
Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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