NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Student Success Update

NSM Fall 2021 Update: Enrollment Overview

The Fall 2021 semester is underway, and students, faculty, and staff are adjusting to in-person teaching/learning. NSM undergraduate headcount is up by 2.3%. However, undergraduate SCH is down by 1.3% compared to Fall 2020.

The increase in headcount is due to the 19.6% increase in enrollment of first time in college students (FTICs) which is expected as the initial unrest from the COVID-19 pandemic in Fall 2020 has settled. It also may be due to the NSM Undergraduate Academic Advising Center’s outreach to students who recently received a tuition credit to relieve any debt incurred for the Spring and Fall 2020 semesters and the Spring 2021 semester.

teachHOUSTON Receives NSF Grant for STEM Research Inquiry Summer Experience

The newly funded NSF STEM Research Inquiry Summer Experience (STEM RISE) project will better prepare and retain STEM majors as qualified STEM teachers and professionals equipped with tools and resources to serve youth in Houston-area schools. The $299,960 award over three years is a collaboration between teachHOUSTON, the UH College of Medicine, and Jack Yates High School in Houston’s Historic Third Ward.

The program team includes PI Dr. Mariam Manuel, teachHOUSTON instructor, and Co-PIs Jacqueline Ekeoba, teachHOUSTON instructor, and Dr. Thomas Thesen, faculty in the College of Medicine.

STEM RISE will provide undergraduate STEM majors, pursuing STEM teacher certification, with novel and meaningful opportunities to embed culturally responsive teaching in their instruction through a revised Research Methodology in STEM Course and a professional development institute focused on social justice topics. The project will provide opportunities for underrepresented students by engaging youth from Jack Yates High School in summer research experiences to enhance learning and introduce them to STEM career pathways.

In addition, the program will support mentoring relationships between high school students, undergraduate STEM pre-service teachers/students, and faculty. This project will contribute to the knowledge base about mentoring, professional development for undergraduate STEM preservice teachers and will provide information about theory-practice gaps in culturally responsive and inquiry-based STEM education.

Genetics Teaching Laboratory Expansion

A second lab space was equipped as a Fly Lab to accommodate burgeoning enrollments in the Genetics Laboratory course, BIOL 3311. This course serves as the research intensive and Writing in the Disciplines course for the approximately 1,900 undergraduates enrolled as biology majors. Students engage in a research project mapping mutations in Drosophila melanogaster, a eukaryotic model system. The class ensures all students majoring in biology have an authentic research experience before graduating.

NSM Student Leadership Program

The NSM Student Leadership team hosted 52 student leaders for a two-day retreat on August 17-18. These NSM undergraduates serve the College as ambassadors, peer mentors, and members of the student programming board. The retreat featured team-building activities, leadership skills training, and allowed the students to create lasting bonds. The students also planned events/activities for the fall semester, including NSM Talks, Listens, and Shares events, Office Hours with Student Leaders, Battle of the Student Orgs Game Night, and participation in Weeks of Welcome activities.

TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy Award Ceremony and Welcome Back Celebration

The 2021 TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy closed with a face-to-face banquet for students and parents/guardians on August 6. Students received recognition for their academic achievements as well as peer-suggested awards, such as the “Night Owl Award” and the “All In” Award. The students selected and recognized an Outstanding Tutor and Outstanding Peer Facilitator for the program. Trevence Mitchell, TC Energy’s Community Involvement Lead, attended the event, speaking briefly to the students and commending them for their exceptionally hard work in this nine-week, six-hour-a-day program.

To kick off the semester, the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Summer Scholars Academy cohorts enjoyed a welcome back game night celebration. Students from the program were able to drop in between 4-6 p.m. at the Student Center Game Room to enjoy bowling, shooting pool, and meeting their peers in person, some for the first time. This time together helped students relax and get ready for an engaging week of classes.