Department of Education grants $3 million

Department of Education grants $3 million

By David Gomez Jr.

Published Wednesday, March 2, 2022
(Originally published in the February print edition, 2022)

Another substantial grant, valued at $3 million, reaches TAMIU through “rigorous application process,” the program manager said.

The U.S. Department of Education funded the Texas A&M International University AIRES Project for services and career-readiness training to upper-level undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics students for Spring 2022.

Senior Rosalinda Pescina works on coding
Leonard Gonzalez | Bridge
TAMIU senior Rosalinda Pescina codes for a technology project on Feb. 7 at the Academic Innovation Center.

“[The] grant was funded in October of 2020 through a rigorous application process,” AIRES program manager Andrea D. Beattie said. “The grant included the hiring of a program manager, academic success coach, career readiness and data specialist.”

TAMIU Academic and Industry Readiness in Engineering and Science is expected to receive the $3 million over the next five years for further preparation of upper-undergraduate STEM and to further ease the transition into the workforce.

The team in charge of the AIRES Readiness Program are project director Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Claudia San Miguel, co-project director Associate Dean Marcus Ynalvez, Beattie, career readiness coordinator Luis Vasquez, academic success coach Jerimias Garcia, and data specialist Samuel Flores.

An e-book collection, valued at nearly $15,000, was among the first purchased for STEM Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Career and Skill Development and Start-Ups.

“That’s $600K a year and 5% on books,” sophomore and engineering major Alan Santos said. “I mean, it seems to me like it’s a little much.”

The collection was part of a collective effort by Beattie, Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library Director Benjamin Rawlins, Information Literacy librarian Elizabeth DeZouche and recently retired librarian Rogelio Hinojosa.

“If that much money is going into STEM, why are there so many students still paying tuition?” Santos asked.

It may appear unclear to some regarding the funds’ expected usage, which are specifically set for services and career-readiness training.

“There are a dozen programmatic activities going on,” Beattie added. “Upper-level instruction and advising as well.”

In the participation timeline of the program, the applicant may attend summer workshops then apply for the program and stipend consideration. Junior year, they are required to participate in a work-based internship opportunity and attend VITA Internal Revenue Service tax preparation Wintermester workshop.

By the time the student is a senior, they are required to participate in MileOne’s Incubatorship and/or LaunchPad, complete the SBDC’s Business Management Certification Program and attend a Research or Leadership Conference.

“I think they’re being done for a reason,” Santos said. “Any other job that isn’t rooted from STEM doesn’t really require second-level education.”

“We are also coming up with a deep-dive series starting Feb. 22, part of career readiness,” Beattie said. 

Some of these deep-dive series topics include financial literacy. The topics discussed are expected to include budgeting, credit and resume pitches; each day will be solely focused on one topic.

Relevant to career readiness, a couple workshops for next month will include “How to Network and Not Hate It” and “Car Salesman: a Perspective.”


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