UTPA Receives $3.1 Million Grant to Support Women in STEM Academic Careers

Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 10:56am

EDINBURG - The University Of Texas Pan American received a 3 million dollar grant. They'll use it to put more Hispanic women is science and mathematics fields.

UTPA Professor Cristina Villalobos is Passionate about teaching mathematics at the college level. But she says higher learning institutions need to do more to focus on careers of the future specifically in the areas of Science, technology, engineering and math commonly referred to as stem. While there is still much to be done, Dr. Villalobos believes UTPA is well on its way to becoming a leader and STEM HUB in the south Texas region, just recently the University sought and successfully obtained a 3.1 million dollar grant from the national science foundation's advance program to hire more females, especially Hispanic women for faculty and leadership STEM related positions and provide developmental support over the next five years. UT PAN AM administrators made the announcement at a press conference.

Dr. Havidan Rodriguez/  Provost and Vice President for academic affairs.

"Currently women represent only 18% of all faculty in STEM fields at UT Pan American compared to a national average of 28 percent. The representation of Hispanic females in the STEM fields is also very low at 11 percent. If we want to achieve the national goal increasing female and latina representation in STEM workforce we must change these numbers and provide role models for our students"

Dr. Villalobos who helped prepare the grant proposal is excited about the impact the funding will potentially have women teaching mathematics out of 35 faculty members and only 2 are Hispanic. Cristina Villalobos/ Professor of Mathematics.

"The NSF grant is a very highly coveted award and I'm glad UTPA took the initial steps to try and remedy this problem of the lack of women representation in the STEM academic disciplines."

The grant will also promote a more postive workplace climate and help insititutionalize policies and practices to attrract more hispanic women in the stem fields.

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