(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.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.