September 12, 2022

HACU Texas Regional Convening focuses on STEM Education

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities welcomed approximately 50 STEM leaders in higher education to its Texas Regional Convening on STEM Education on Sept.11-12, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas.

The opening keynote “For U.S. Hispanics, Increasing Representation in STEM fields seen as Important for Attracting more Hispanics to Science,” Mark Hugo Lopez, Ph.D., of the Pew Research Center addressed how Hispanic Americans are glaringly underrepresented among the ranks of scientists, despite more attending and graduating from college and earning a STEM bachelor’s degree. A Pew Research Center article notes Hispanic adults make up 17% of the U.S. workforce but just 8% of those working in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) job.

According to Lopez, a new survey of Hispanic adults from Pew Research finds most see scientific professions as potentially “unwelcoming” to Hispanics, with few visible at the highest levels of science career success. Lopez says, majorities say young Hispanics would be more likely to pursue STEM college degrees if universities had more Hispanic students in STEM degree programs and if Hispanic students had a Hispanic high school STEM teacher.

The Texas Regional Convening on STEM Education will address opportunities for STEM initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

The two-day agenda includes remarks by Stephanie Garcia, Ph.D., of the Intercultural Development Research Association and features presentations on the following topics:

“Building a Talent Strong Texas through Workforce Education and Student Success Initiatives,” by Jennielle Médica Strother Ed.D., and Tina Jackson, Ph.D., of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will provide an update on how the Advance CTE Opportunity Gap Analysis Training Project, is working to strengthen support for STEM CTE students across the state of Texas.

“From Idea to Proposal: NSF Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Program,” presented by Sonja Montas-Hunter, Ph.D., of the National Science Foundation, will discuss how the NSF HSI program supports STEM curricula to meet students’ needs at HSIs. Tips for submitting proposals and the NSF Merit Review Process will also be highlighted.

“Culturally Responsive Curriculum Development in STEM,” presented by Judy Marquez Kiyama, Ph.D., of The University of Arizona will focus on how to align efforts with the HSI designation and connecting STEM curriculum goals with institutional servingness efforts. Resources and strategies for supporting faculty capacity building around culturally responsive curriculum development in STEM will also be discussed.

A lunch keynote address on “Increasing Hispanic Success in Engineering Education,” by Norman Fortenberry, Sc.D., of the American Society for Engineering Education will summarize relevant data, discuss the research base, and provide examples of successful engagement and key lessons to advance the overall effort.

The Texas Regional Convening will conclude with roundtable sessions on three topics: Mentoring, Engineering Best Practices, and Graduate Education, followed by a group discussion on “Texas STEM: Challenges, Opportunities and Future Plans.”

The convening was made possible by an NSF Planning Grant.