WT wins nearly $1 million award for STEM Retention/Graduation

West Texas A&M University is getting a $999,994 award from the National Science Foundation. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

West Texas A&M University is getting a $999,994 award from the National Science Foundation.

The university’s proposal for “Teaming Engineering and Mathematics Students for the Future” won out above others from across the country.

WT Engineering faculty members tell ABC 7 News it’s something they’re excited about not only for the school, but also for the impact it will have on the community.

The project focuses on retention and graduation for unrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Faculty members said they hope to help bring in and keep more underrepresented students such as, rural and economically disadvantaged students; minority students, primarily Hispanics; and first-generation college students.

“We are a very student focused institution. We’ve built what we have on being there for our students and being able to help them be successful,” said primary investigator and WTAMU Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Oliver Mulamba. “We’re looking to not only get students in, but we’re looking to keep them and allow them to be successful in their college careers and moving forward.”

They’re doing that by using most the grant on scholarships. Dr. Mulamba said they plan to give out at least 25 each year. He said they will use the rest for peer-lead learning experiences.

“We want to bring them in, we want to relieve some of the stresses that come with a financial burden and then figure out how to best help them stay and then graduate and be successful moving on through. We’re going to use students who have been in the same situations, come from the same backgrounds, be involved in helping get these students moved through their education. There will be a lot of trips we’re going to take. We want to shorten the gap between us, these students, and the industry such they can see what is out there, these are your opportunities, this is where your education can take you,” said Dr. Mulamba.

The grant is not the only exciting news happening in their department.

Currently, the WTAMU Engineering and Computer Science building is a construction zone as crews work to give students a state-of-the art facility to learn in. The entire second floor is getting remodeled with four new design studios, classrooms and professor offices.

“The four-state of the art design studios will be a place to dream and a place to allow what is just thought and imagination to come to life. We’re moving forward in one allowing for the increase of our numbers to not affect the quality of what we do and we’re growing in providing the kind of facility that allow us to be cutting edge in our engineering field, as well,” said Dr. Mulamba.

The award begins Sept. 15 and runs through Aug. 31, 2022.

WTAMU is also now offering a new Masters in Engineering program starting this Fall.

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