JULY 1, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio will host its second annual ExploreSTEM@UTSA event to increase access to San Antonio students living with disabilities. The event will be presented by the UTSA Departments of Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, and Geological Sciences.
Co-directed by Wei Wang, assistant professor of computer science, and Kathy Ewoldt, assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, the UTSA summer camp will teach the fundamentals of programming and artificial intelligence with a focus on autonomous vehicles.
“Computer science has great career opportunities. Its jobs pay very well and are suitable for any people, with or without disabilities,” Wang said. “However, without good guidance, it is hard to get started in computer science.”
According to statewide reporting, some Texas K-12 schools struggled to offer disability curriculum during the coronavirus pandemic. UTSA’s additional support helps meet this immediate community and regional need.
“We want to make sure parents know that great opportunities exist. I want to offer the program this summer to give kids a chance to know computer science, to know the possibility of a computer science career,” Wang added.
At ExploreSTEM@UTSA, students will be provided a hands-on programming and machine learning experience to build autonomous driving, lane-detecting vehicles. The students will learn about basic computer programming concepts, programming skills, computer vision and data science. Through these activities, students gain a glimpse of what it is like to work in the STEM fields of software engineering and data science.
In addition, each day a guest speaker working in STEM fields will be invited to interact with the students to discuss their STEM-related careers and their individual professional journeys. The program will culminate with online testing of their AI models on dash camera videos.
“Promoting STEM careers to high school students with disabilities creates beneficial opportunities to everyone involved,” said Ewoldt, who will provide strategy training to tutors as well. “Students experience victory over challenges and build excitement about the numerous different careers that comprise STEM. The STEM fields benefit because the more diverse the workforce that brings multiple perspectives into a conversation, the more innovative the solutions that will be found.”
Last year, a blind student with some coding experience was able to successfully program AI for autonomous lane detection. The ExploreSTEM@UTSA teaching and learning experience revealed flaws that could only be encountered by people with complete blindness while using screen reader-assistive technology as a computer programmer. Revelation of these flaws has led UTSA researchers to some innovative possibilities that are currently being explored for research and development.
“This is a great example of how a computer scientist learned of a user-interface deficiency or problematic barrier that may not have otherwise been exposed,” Ewoldt explained. “It’s also a great example of how UTSA supports our local community and the next generation of cyber scientists.”
The UTSA program is a collaboration with the Texas Workforce Commission, which helps refer students. The goal this summer is to expand enrollment to about 30 participants from middle and high schools.
Other UTSA faculty that will teach in the camp include Alberto Mestas-Nuñez, associate professor in practice in the Department of Geological Sciences, and Mimi Xie, assistant professor in computer science. ExploreSTEM@UTSA will have two separate sessions and is open to all San Antonio students with a disability. The camp starts August 2.
UTSA invites you to participate in our community altar by RSVP to this event. You can also use this link to learn more about Día de Los Muertos:https://anendlessconnection.weebly.com/the-project.html.Student Union Window Lounge, Main Campus
UTSA students, faculty, and staff are invited to the Health Fair on Wednesday. Health and wellbeing information booths and health screenings will be available.HEB Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center will on campus Wednesday, October 27th from 10am - 3pm in the H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 for an additional day this month. Participants will receive a $10 gift card by email from hundreds of retailers and restaurants through your donor portal.HEB Student Union Ballroom I, 1.104, Main Campus
The second of two recitals featuring the tuba and euphonium students of Gary Poffenbarger and John Caputo. More details to come. The Fall 2021 concert schedule is subject to change. Please continue to monitor our website and social media for updates. This concert will be live-streamed via the UTSA Music Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/UTSAMusicUTSA Recital Hall, Main Campus
October 28th celebrates National Immigrants Day. On this day, we gather to explore the diverse heritage of our nation’s social fabric. We dedicate this day to understanding how our nation was founded and built by immigrants. Our goal is for the UTSA family to recognize and celebrate how all immigrants, regardless of their citizenship status, contribute to our community through their resiliency and ingenuity.Multicultural Student Lounge, HSU 2.207, Main Campus
The COLFA Advanced Career Pathways Workshops are focused on connecting your education with your career aspirations and exploring your pathways to reach your goal.Mesquite Room, Student Union, 2.01.24, Main Campus
The Westside Community Center will be creating an altar or "ofrenda" as many do within San Antonio and the Westside for "Dia de los Muertos." If you would like to participate, we invite you to send in a photo of a loved one that will be placed in this space. You are welcome to join us on October 28th at 3:00 pm to set up the space and come see us at the Westside Community Center.UTSA Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St., San Antonio, TX 78207
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.
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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.