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Texas STEM Camps Get Funding Boost

Twenty universities and colleges in Texas are offering summer-time STEM camps to students, thanks to the annual largesse of a state agency in charge of workforce development. The recipients are sharing a $1.5 million pool from the Texas Workforce Commission that will help introduce 1,737 students between 14 and 21 to topics in science, technology, engineering, and math in the hope that they'll pursue careers in these areas. That amount exceeds last year's "Summer Merit" grants by $500,000 and increases the number of student participants who can receive scholarships by about 500.

The camps, which are open to non-scholarship recipients as well, also allow participants to experience "life on campus"; 14 of the institutions involved will be running camps that students attend daily; five will be running residential camps; one will be doing both.

The largest amount — $150,760 — was given to Tarrant County College District to provide 175 scholarships for three-week day camps. Students will explore topics in robotics, computer technology, biomedicine, pharmaceutical, ophthalmic, and other STEM subjects.

Another major recipient is Lamar University, which received $147,328.This grant will cover 100 scholarships for three residential camps providing activities to students in mechanical, chemical, industrial, and civil engineering, as well as drafting, construction measurement, and woodworking.

The smallest amount has gone to Austin Community College, which will use its $12,810 grant to provide 30 scholarships for day camps where students will learn about renewable energy, forensics, and other science topics.

"TWC is pleased to partner with Texas community colleges and universities to offer these innovative camps to our future workforce," said Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar. "These camps enhance our students' competence in STEM, positioning them for success in high-demand careers across Texas."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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