NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Student Success Update

TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy Updates

Summer Scholars Academy End of Program Celebration

The TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy ended on August 4 with 56 students completing the program. Two goals of the program were to offer participants the opportunity to earn credit for Calculus I and to have their major changed to their first choice NSM or Engineering major. Thirty-one students (55%) earned credit for Calculus 1 and were eligible to enroll in Calculus 2 for Fall 2023 semester. In addition, these students had their major changed to their first choice in NSM or Engineering. Seventeen students (30%) placed into Calculus 1 in the fall. The remaining participants placed into pre-calculus or other math courses. Although there was a decrease in the number of students who earned Calculus I credit this summer (71% in 2022), the 2023 cohort’s average math placement score increased by 33 points, an all-time high for the program.

On the last day, students and their families attended an awards ceremony to celebrate the scholars’ accomplishments. Scholars received words of encouragement from administrators, instructors, and representatives from the program’s sponsor, TC Energy. They also received certificates of completion and superlative awards.

Scholar Enrichment Program - By the Numbers

As the fall semester moves into high gear, so does the support from the Scholar Enrichment Program (SEP)! This semester, SEP is supporting 1,040 students for 15 STEM courses through their one-credit hour academic excellence workshops. Thirty-nine workshops are peer-led by two undergraduate students with a total of 78 peer facilitators this fall. In addition, the SEP Tutoring Center is supported by 77 peer tutors and offers support in over 25 freshmen/sophomore-level STEM courses. Lastly, 54 students who completed the TC Energy Summer Scholars Academy have transitioned to SEP this fall and will receive financial and academic support. In total, SEP is supporting and has the support of 219 participants.

Office of First Year Programs Updates

NSM Block Party

The Office of First Year Programs hosted NSM’s Block Party on August 20 to welcome incoming freshmen to campus. Over 450 students participated in the event and had the opportunity to speak with NSM student organizations, play games, and interact with faculty, staff, and their peers. A special thank you to donations made for the event from Raising Cane’s restaurant and the Texas National Guard. Thank you also to those who came out to volunteer for the event. It was a huge success!

Student Leadership Program

The Office of First Year Programs hosted a two-day retreat on August 16 and 17 to welcome and prepare incoming and returning Student Leaders for the 2023-24 academic year. Session topics included What Does It Mean to be a Leader, Am I a Leadership Skill, Teamwork, Mentorship Training, and Planning for College-Sponsored Events. Staff from the Student Success Team, including the NSM Undergraduate Advising Center, Summer Scholars Academy, Undergraduate Affairs, Career Center, Development Office, and UH STEM Center, met with the Student Leaders to discuss how they could partner with the group to help support and promote their student success initiatives. The 48 Student Leader volunteers serve NSM in roles as Student Ambassadors, Peer Mentors, and Programming Board Members.

STEM RISE Program Provides Research Experiences for Jack Yates High School Students

The STEM Research Inquiry Summer Enrichment (STEM RISE) program welcomed their second cohort of participants this summer. During the seven-week program, STEM RISE Scholars — 11 students from Jack Yates High School in Third Ward, 5 medical students, and 17 NSM undergraduate students — participated in research lab settings under a layered mentorship model. Scholars participated in research in areas of biomedical engineering and speech, language, and aphasia under the guidance of the medical students, NSM undergraduates, and UH faculty including Dr. Tameka A. Clemons, Dr. Heather Dial, Dr. Zhengwei Li Research Group, and Dr. David Raskin. They also engaged in hands-on STEM lessons designed and taught by teachHOUSTON pre-service teachers. Additionally, the Jack Yates High School students interviewed various UH faculty members while exploring topics in college readiness and future career possibilities.

STEM RISE To close the program, the Second Annual STEM RISE Program Research Symposium was held on July 28 at the UH Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine. The symposium celebrated the accomplishments of the STEM RISE scholars who presented research posters and informational content related to the areas of research. The high school scholars also presented about their overall experience in the program and the projected pathway to their future careers in STEM. The symposium hosted leaders in the Third Ward community, including campus administrators and teachers from Jack Yates High School and feeder schools in Third Ward, and UH staff and faculty members. The summer 2023 program was featured in the Houston Defender and videos created by STEM RISE students describing their experience are found at the link STEM RISE 2023 Video.

STEM RISE is a collaboration between NSM and the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine. The program was designed and is implemented in close partnership with Third Ward, Jack Yates High School. The STEM RISE program has been supported through funding from NSF (DUE 2121455), the Dr. Patrice O. Yarbough Research Gateway Scholarship, donations from Mr. Sidney Lacey of Lacey Newday Consulting, the Jack Yates Alumni Association, and John and Peggy Prugh. The STEM RISE co-directors and PIs are Drs. Mariam Manuel (teachHOUSTON, NSM), Jacqueline Ekeoba (teachHOUSTON, NSM), Michelle Carroll Turpin (TJFFCOM), and Thomas Thesen (Dartmouth COM).

Racial Equity through Student Engagement and Teaching in STEM (RESET in STEM) Program Funded by NSF

Advancing Racial Equity for Youth in Alternative Schooling Systems through Culturally Responsive STEM Programming “Advancing Racial Equity for Youth in Alternative Schooling Systems through Culturally Responsive STEM Programming” is a collaboration between NSM, the UH College of Education, Cullen College of Engineering, and community partners, 8 Million Stories. The program, funded by a $1.6M grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to provide culturally responsive mentoring, tutoring, a summer research laboratory experience, and college and career readiness seminars to low-income high school students enrolled in alternative schooling systems in Houston.

Within this context, undergraduate pre-service teachers at UH will take coursework on culturally responsive pedagogies, and they will use these pedagogies as a framework to guide their interactions with the youth. Research will explore whether the pre-service teachers report increased self-efficacy in culturally responsive teaching, and whether/how the program shapes the high school students’ STEM identities and interest in STEM careers.

The PI team includes Drs. Mariam Manuel (NSM, teachHOUSTON), Jacqueline Ekeoba (NSM, teachHOUSTON), Donna Stokes (NSM), April Peters Hawkins (Education), and Jerrod Henderson (Engineering). Dr. Leah McAlister Shields (NSM) was also part of the PI team prior to transitioning to the Program Director role at NSF; she will continue to collaborate on research with the project team.

teachHOUSTON Receives Funding to Support Alternative Certification Program

teachHOUSTON received a subaward from the University of Texas’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation UTeach for Texas Program. teachHOUSTON will receive $743,312 to implement an effective and scalable model for an accelerated, residency-based pathway to STEM teaching for degree-holders and career-changers. The PI of the UH subaward is Paige Evans with Co-PIs Amanda Campos, Ramona Mateer, and Karen McIntush.