SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 — NASA has tapped UTSA to explore creating a strategy to develop its next generation workforce. The space agency wants to create early awareness opportunities for K–12 students, in particular more females and minorities, to become interested in classes in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM fields.
This area of study is the foundation for developing future talent in aeronautical engineering, data sciences, unmanned systems, network communications and other related fields. The first step of this initiative involves a $50,000 NASA grant to gather data and submit a concept paper identifying STEM curriculum gaps along with a plan to overcome the problem.
The effort—officially called the City-Based Integrated Engineering Training Alliance to Engage, Educate and Transform the Next Generation Stem Workforce—is led by Kiran Bhaganagar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and co–principal investigator of the NASA Center for Advanced Measurements in Extreme Environments at UTSA.
Along with faculty members David Akopian, Karina Velma and Chris Combs, Bhaganagar is working with representatives from 16 prominent academic, government and research institutions in the community on the alliance concept, who all wrote letters to support the initiative.
“Eventually we want all of our K–12 students in the San Antonio area to have the skill sets to be employable in STEM-related careers,” Bhaganagar said. “Our vision is to create the next generation workforce and we want UTSA to be a model program in engineering. We want to create a mentoring network with all our alliance partners that is accessible by K–12 to UTSA graduate students in San Antonio.”
Bhaganagar is proposing a unique, multitiered alliance training model based on the concepts of engage, educate and transform. The engage section is targeted to pre–middle-school students. It seeks to provide them more opportunities for activity camps and engineering clubs.
The educate portion is for community college, high school and middle school students and proposes introductory training, summer internships and online study modules.
The transform section aims to prepare college students for the workforce through focused training, dual-mentorship programs and internships.
At UTSA females make up 21% of enrollment in the College of Engineering. According to 2018 research by DataUSA, 15% of all aerospace engineers are female. Approximately 15% of all aerospace engineers are minorities, with Hispanics representing less than 5% of the ethnic breakdown.
“As a Hispanic Serving Institution, UTSA is well-positioned to bridge the K–12 STEM curriculum in a community as diverse as San Antonio,” said Bhaganagar. “Our university has many existing collaborative partnerships that promote mutual benefit and alignment to gain insights into how to best respond to the needs of our stakeholders via research, educational initiatives, and community outreach and participation.”
UTSA is gathering feedback for this approach through three town hall meetings involving its 16 existing partners and new partners. The first is scheduled for October 3 and will involve K–12 academic leaders across all San Antonio school districts. Town halls will also be held for government and STEM industry sectors. All data will be compiled into a concept paper and evaluation plan that will be submitted to NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement.
Bhaganagar said NASA will review the submitted proposal and determine if any funding will be provided to move forward.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at our very own street fair - Calle UTSA. We will have activities, performances, food, music, and piñatas to break open.Student Union Paseo
"La Plática" is a space for thoughtful dialogue to build a sense of connection among the Roadrunner Community by getting to know each other better and sharing what's on our minds and about ourselves to increase to increase awareness of diverse perspectives.Virtual Event
This September 30, the Friday Series will feature Prof. Milena Ang, who will be presenting A Tren to Nowhere: Statistic Development and the Politics of Racial, a paper co-authored with Tania Islas-Weistein where they discuss Mexico's long history of state-led development projects that contribute to economic and racial inequality. The authors argue that despite professing racial justice, official discourses surrounding the Tren Maya reproduce existing symbolic and material forms of racism.McKinney Humanities (MH 4.01.01,) Main Campus
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
LMSA invites you to join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month through an interactive cooking lesson! This cultural experience will teach you how to prepare a popular Mexican dish, street taquitos. You will be able to sample this dish and learn the recipe to use in your own home.Recreation Wellness Center Demo Kitchen
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.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.