(Sept. 25, 2018) – Developing the next generation of dynamic science leaders from diverse student populations is the goal of a three-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) award to UTSA.
The project, “Advancing and Strengthening Science Identity through Systematic Training (ASSIST)”, is meant to produce an innovative graduate education model that can be transferred to other minority-serving institutions with student populations similar to those at UTSA.
Targeting students in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology (ESE), the ASSIST program will cultivate student success in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduate education through three interventions: holistic mentoring, scientific writing, and public science communication.
Together these interventions provide the support and training necessary for graduate students to produce scientific research while also learning to communicate that research for effective community engagement and public leadership.
“We designed this interdisciplinary program to pilot, test, and validate innovative approaches to graduate education to increase the success of underserved student populations,” said Bush, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. “We hope the knowledge and interventions from ASSIST will not only positively impact our broader community but also train leaders who will then advance diversification in the science fields.”
A team of UTSA faculty from the College of Education and Human Development, College of Sciences and College of Liberal and Fine Arts will work together to develop this comprehensive program.
ASSIST will offer students a series of graduate courses, professional development workshops, and community engagement activities with partners such as, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Water System, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Edwards Aquifer Authority, and other non-governmental organizations.
“In addition to being competent scientists, we want ESE graduate students to develop strong writing and public communication skills for sharing their science expertise to a range of audiences across multiple forms of media,” said Bush.
According to data from the NSF, historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, particularly African-Americans and Latinos, have lower representation in the science and engineering workforce than their representation in the U.S. population.
For example, Latinos, African-Americans, and American Indians or Alaska Natives together make up 27 percent of the U.S. population age 21 and older but only 15 percent of Ph.D.’s in science and engineering, and 11 percent of the science and engineering workforce.
“UTSA is a university of discovery, committed to the personal transformation and success of its students. This project will benefit the larger society by diversifying the science workforce with individuals possessing a broad knowledge base, strong communication skills, and exceptional leadership qualities,” said Bush.
The UTSA team includes Bush, principal investigator (PI) and professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, Amaury Nora, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Sue Hum, associate professor in the Department of English, Kenneth Walker, assistant professor in the Department of English, Jeffrey Hutchinson, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, Gwen Young, lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology and Juliet Ray, Director of Grant Services at Johns Hopkins University.
UTSA is ranked among the nation’s top five young universities, according to Times Higher Education.
Learn more about UTSA College of Sciences.
Learn more about UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Learn more about UTSA College of Education and Human Development.
All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.Various Locations, Main Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
More than 75 local, state and national graduate and professional schools will showcase their programs at the Main Campus. It's free and open to the public. Interested attendees are encouraged to register for the event in advance.Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA Associate Professor of Anthropology Jill Fleuriet will moderate a neutral dialogue on what is and what is not protected as free speech, what constitutes hate speech and a university's role in supporting free speech on their respective campus.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Hosted by the UTSA Office of Information Technology Student Innovation Coalition, Tech Talk is a forum for students to share thoughts about technology on campus with IT professionals and learn about products and services available to help them succeed.Student Union Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries will host Claudia García-Louis, assistant professor, at the Downtown Library for her presentation AfroLatinxs: Navigating Blackness and Latinidad in the Age of Trump, as part of the popular Pizza and Research series.Buena Vista Street Building Downtown Library (BVB 2.314), Downtown Campus
UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to hear preliminary findings from the UTSA Campus Master Plan Discovery Survey and to offer students, faculty and staff another opportunity to provide input and ask questions about the initiative.Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
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