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HT Receives $398,330 NSF Grant to Support STEM

(AUSTIN, Texas) 9.24.15 — Huston-Tillotson University has been awarded a significant grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support its Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) efforts. The NSF’s Historically Black College and University Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) awarded HT’s Natural Sciences Department $398,330 over the next three years to support an initiative titled, “HT-ASSERT – Attaining and Sustaining STEM Excellence with Research Training.”         

“This educational model transforms Huston-Tillotson University’s science offerings to attract more minorities in STEM fields,” said HT President and Chief Executive Officer Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D., who earned her undergraduate degree in engineering.

HT-ASSERT will enhance the preparedness of natural science majors for STEM careers and graduate study by re-configuring the curriculum to emphasize undergraduate research. The

initiative encompasses inquiry-based laboratory instruction in gateway science courses, the introduction of capstone research projects for biology and chemistry majors, summer undergraduate research internships, student professional development, laboratory equipment, and the faculty training needed to support a research-based curriculum.

HT faculty Amanda Masino, Associate Professor of Biology, stated that “providing undergraduate research training stands out among best practices in undergraduate STEM education as highly predictive of graduate school success, particularly for underrepresented groups. This valuable hands-on research training will flow across the curriculum.”

Huston-Tillotson University, is Austin’s oldest institution of higher education, offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in more than 19 areas study to a diverse population of students who are majority African American. The University also offers the Master of Education in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.  NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing