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Photo credit Texas Woman’s University Texas Woman’s University student Saira Jamali, Dallas College student Iryna Martsinovich and TWU professor Tina Gumienny (from left to right), participated in a summer STEM workshop at Texas Woman’s that, through a grant from Lyda Hill Philanthropies, will be augmented to create more opportunities for students majoring in STEM disciplines.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies awards grant to expand STEM pathways at TWU

Collaboration with Dallas College, North Central Texas College, Tarrant County College will encourage students to pursue four-year STEM degrees.

Texas Woman’s University has received a grant from Dallas-based Lyda Hill Philanthropies to create additional pathways for community college students to receive four-year STEM degrees, an effort that aims to better position the Metroplex for job growth in the life sciences and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields by increasing the number of college-educated STEM workers ? a move critical to the region’s economic success.

“Lyda Hill Philanthropies is committed to supporting advancements in science and helping students further their education in STEM is key," said Lyda Hill, entrepreneur and founder of the organization. "We are proud to work with Texas Woman’s University, Dallas College, North Central Texas College and Tarrant County College in this effort and look forward to seeing the success these talented students have in their careers in STEM."

“This project will give community college students a chance to work with mentors and graduate students in research laboratories at TWU,” said Juliet V. Spencer, head of the School of the Sciences at TWU, and one of five TWU professors and administrators leading the project. “Studies demonstrate that getting students into research labs and working with faculty on STEM research makes it more likely that they will want to continue their STEM educations, either at the bachelor’s level or in graduate school.”

The gift will fund one-day experiential STEM learning opportunities for 100 community college students from Dallas College, North Central Texas College and Tarrant County College, and paid, two-week internships for 10 students.

Earlier this year, TWU launched a smaller pilot project with Dallas College in which 24 students participated in one-day experiential STEM learning opportunities, including a site visit to the STEM labs on the TWU Denton campus, where they learned about STEM research. Two of the participants were selected for two-week internships on campus this summer.

Based on the success of the program, Texas Woman’s has now planned an expanded project for 2024 involving Dallas College, North Central Texas College and Tarrant County College.

The expanded project will involve 100 students spending a day at TWU. Of the 100 students, 10 will be offered paid two-week internships on the TWU campus, where they will eventually present their research. Disciplines supported by the project include biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, computer sciences and mathematics.

“Dallas College is thrilled to be partnering with TWU and grateful to Lyda Hill Philanthropies for their support to expand the program. Experiential learning, particularly undergraduate research, provides students with unique opportunities that increase their retention and completion of a STEM credential and provides critical skill building that will help them when they enter the STEM workforce,” said Jason Treadway, director of the STEM Institute at Dallas College.

The initiative will also include robust, multi-year tracking of where participants complete their college educations, as well as scholarship support for at least seven program participants who transfer to TWU to complete their undergraduate STEM degrees. TWU’s goal is to use data from the pilot project to help it scale the program across Texas in subsequent years.

“TWU has developed outstanding relationships with local community colleges over the years, and we are proud to be able to collaborate with three of them to increase an interest in four-year STEM education,” said Texas Woman’s Chancellor Carine M. Feyten. “We are honored that Lyda Hill Philanthropies, a national leader in STEM funding, has chosen to support this groundbreaking project.”

“North Central Texas College is excited to build upon years of successful partnership with Texas Woman’s University to provide this opportunity for our students to explore careers in the fast-growing STEM fields,” said Brent Wallace, chancellor of North Central Texas College.

The project aligns with TWU’s current strategic plan, which seeks to double the number of STEM opportunities on campus as a top priority. With the most diverse student body among Texas public universities, as well as a student body that is 89 percent women, TWU is strongly positioned to support students from groups underrepresented in science who wish to pursue STEM careers.

“This is a great opportunity for our students at Tarrant County College. We are looking forward to working with TWU as we expose Tarrant County College students to innovative research experiences in STEM,” said Stephen Jones, dean of mathematics, natural sciences and kinesiology at Tarrant County College.

About TWU:

Texas Woman’s, the nation’s largest woman-focused university, is committed to transformational learning, leadership development, service, discovery, and health and wellbeing in an inclusive environment. The university has built a reputation on its contributions in nursing, education, the healthcare professions, the arts and sciences, and business. For more information, visit twu.edu.

About Lyda Hill Philanthropies:

Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving for founder Lyda Hill and includes her foundation and personal philanthropy. Our organization is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature, empowering nonprofit organizations and improving the Texas and Colorado communities. Because Miss Hill has a fervent belief that “science is the answer” to many of life’s most challenging issues, she has chosen to donate the entirety of her estate to philanthropy and scientific research. For more details visit lydahillphilanthropies.org.

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