NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Student Success Update

NSM Students Recognized at Undergraduate Scholars and Major Awards Celebration

NSM Students The Honors College held its 2024 Undergraduate Scholars and Major Awards Celebration on April 15 where NSM students were recognized for their successes over the year. Among those receiving awards were six NSM students who were named Outstanding Freshmen. They were nominated by their Honors College instructors for demonstrated qualities of academic excellence, leadership, and dedication.

NSM Student Organizations: Leading the Leaders

Associate and Assistant Deans, Donna Stokes and Donna Pattison, instituted a Leading the Leaders monthly meeting with officers of the NSM-based registered student organizations. The meetings will provide additional mentoring, guidance, and leadership training. One of the key questions the leaders had was how to work with companies for sponsorships and how funds are disbursed to the student groups. On April 19, Joe Rera, Assistant Director in University Advancement Corporate Relations gave a presentation on “Corporate Funding for Student Organizations” which answered many of the group’s questions. The presentation slides will be made available on the NSM student organizations website for future use by current and new officer teams. NSM is planning to host a leadership training and strategic planning retreat for the student organizations in June. The goal of the retreat is to facilitate active engagement of the members and collaboration across organizations for hosting small and large events for higher participant impact. The Leading the Leaders program aims to increase NSM student engagement which may lead to better retention and graduation rates, and to improve students’ soft and professional skills which will help them become leaders in the workforce.

Classroom Engagement: Petri Plate Art

Petri Plate Art The Department of Biology & Biochemistry hosted the first Petri Plate Art Contest as part of the Biochemistry 2 lab course. Over 70 students competed by using a palette of color-producing E. coli to produce art in a petri dish where some strains also produce fluorescence under blue light. This engaging and fun activity resulted from a culmination of lessons ranging from sterile technique, antibiotic resistance, recombinant gene expression and cloning, purification of fluorescent proteins, and discussion of the uses of fluorescent proteins in research. Prizes were awarded in unique categories ranging from best complete coverage of the plate, best abstract art, best biology-themed plate, best art in white and blue light, best critters, a kaleidoscope award, and grand award–best in class. The Best-in-Class Award went to Rahida Syeda for her intricate and delicate floral petri art (pictured). Syeda received a UH mug for her work. The project resulted in a lot of laughter and camaraderie among the students.

TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy Graduation Celebration

On April 26, the TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy (SSA) celebrated 18 scholars graduating from the 2019, 2020, and 2021 cohorts. Of the 18 graduates, 11 will graduate with a STEM degree from NSM or Cullen College of Engineering. SSA is an intensive, nine-week program for incoming students interested in majors in NSM or engineering. Summer scholars can earn credit for Calculus 1 (MATH 2413), receive a preview of Fundamentals of Chemistry, and College Success (CORE 1100) content.

Office of First Year Program (OFYP) Updates

Admissions, Recruitment, and Retention

The OFYP is engaged in several recruitment and retention activities for prospective and admitted first-year students.

  • The OFYP partnered with the Office of Admissions to host several recruiting events, including Academic Sessions (April 6, 19, 26, and 29), Cougar Preview (April 6), Destination UH-Sugar Land (April 20) and Official Coog Day (May 4).
  • On April 12, OFYP participated in Scholar’s Invitational to support New Student Orientation and NSM students enrolled in the Honors College. During the event, students and guests learned about NSM resources and academic advising pro tips.
  • On April 20, the OFYP partnered with several University and College partners to host NSMeet, the College’s annual spring open house event. Admitted students had the opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and student leadership, view NSM’s facilities, learn about degree programs offered within NSM, and discover options for engagement and professional development.
  • The OFYP, in partnership with the NSM Office of Communications, kicked off its Next Steps email and text message campaign in April to encourage over 4,000 admitted students to take the next steps to enrolling at UH. The campaign will continue with email going out throughout the summer.

Student Leadership Team Program

NSM’s Student Leadership Team (SLT) members serve as peer mentors and ambassadors to welcome, engage, and connect with prospective and new NSM students.

  • The OFYP and the SLT co-chairs met with the Office of Admissions, Cougar Cupboard, and the Center for Student Empowerment to discuss possible partnerships and training opportunities for SLT members to engage prospective students and empower admitted students facing struggles (e.g., food and housing insecurity).
  • The OFYP hosted events for Student (Worker) Appreciation Week for its SLT members April 8-12.
  • SLT hosted professional development workshops in partnership with NSM Career Center on April 10 and April 24. These workshops focused on salary negotiation, career advising, and portfolio reviews.
  • The SLT held an All Branch Meeting on April 17 to reflect and prepare for the Fall semester. After the meeting, the SLT hosted a Welcome Event for new and returning SLT co-chairs. Three members received Outstanding Leadership Awards for their initiative in program events and their investment in the advancement of the program, and seven graduating senior members received a swag bag as a token of appreciation for their hard work and commitment to SLT.

teachHOUSTON Update

The teachHOUSTON program hosted a Teacher Interest Group (TIG) facilitated by Karen McIntush for preservice secondary STEM Teachers as part of the UH Advancing Cultural and Computational Engagement in STEM Scholars (UH-ACCESS) NSF grant program. The TIG offers support to help preservice teachers teach in underserved schools and connect to their communities. Andy Salinas, a teachHOUSTON graduate who teaches mathematics in Northwest Houston, presented “Nurturing At-Risk Students.” The UH-ACCESS grant is in year three and is led by Paige Evans, Donna Stokes, Jaspal Subhlok, and Weihang Zhu.

teachHOUSTON hosted a professional development event for 15 secondary STEM Master Teacher Fellows (MTFs) who are participants in the UH Leadership through Equity and Advocacy Development in STEM (UH-LEAD) NSF grant program. MTFs received awards for completing the program and are provided with professional development sessions on curriculum, induction, and policy/advocacy. The UH-LEAD grant is in year six and is led by PI, Paige Evans, Jennifer Chauvot, Karen McIntush, and Amanda Campos.