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$1 Million Grant Funds STEM Camps Across Texas

As part of a $1 million grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, 14 Texas universities and community colleges are receiving funds for specialized high-tech STEM camps to help prepare high school and college students for future careers in aerospace, biotechnology, IT, and more.

The camps are part of the Governor’s Summer Merit Program, and vary in focus. Generally, they introduce students to various industry clusters: advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, biotechnology and life sciences, information and computer technology, petroleum refining and chemical products, and energy.

Funds mainly go toward scholarships to offset attendance-related costs. Some of the camps are specifically targeted at building interest among underrepresented groups, such as women or those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"TWC is pleased to partner with these outstanding universities and community colleges to offer Texas students opportunities to explore high-demand STEM disciplines," said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar in a statement. "The Governor’s Summer Merit Program is a statewide effort to expose students to the vast array of careers that require science, technology, engineering, and math skills."

Among the grant’s recipients:  The University of Texas at Austin is proving nearly 200 scholarships across five different camps, providing opportunities for students to participate in team design projects, attend engineering learning workshop or presentations, and use technology like 3D printers.

The Houston Community College System is hosting a STEM summer camp for students to apply math skills by using 3D printers to make objects, build and work with robotics, use computers and microscopes to create images, use electron microscopes and chemistry lab equipment, and go on field trips to places like NASA.

Rice University will provide scholarships for the Girls BioScience Initiative, which encourages high school sophomore girls to learn about biochemistry, bioengineering, and medical ethics via hands-on lab experience. The initiative is part of a continuing three-year program for that group of girls.

A complete list of all 14 grant recipients is available online.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is an education technology journalist based in Los Angeles. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.

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