TSTC TexPrep continues to promote STEM fields

BY Amanda Sotelo

The tables have turned for Jose Trevino. The once Texas state Technical College Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program (TexPrep) student returns as a program assistant.

This is the La Sara native’s first summer returning to the program since his TexPrep graduation in 2013.

“The program inspired me to come back,” said Trevino. “This program is the reason why I went to college and chose my major. I owe a lot to TexPrep.”

The engineering major just completed his first year of college, a requirement to become a program assistant, at the University of North Texas.

“This kind of work helps students,” he said. “It helped me a lot and I want to be there for these students.”

TexPrep is a long-running program for TSTC. It’s a six-week intensive summer program that runs for four years for high-achieving middle and high school students with the potential and interest in pursuing the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields.

The 170 students enrolled in the program study subjects such as logic, computer science, engineering, physics, algebraic structures, statistics and technical writing, and Trevino tutors them by reinforcing what the instructors have taught and ensuring that students have a basic understanding in the subject.

TSTC’s State Director for Pre-college Programs Neri Balli said TexPrep helps students get ahead in their studies. Through a partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Texas Education Agency students receive high school elective credit for every year successfully completed.

“After a summer of intensive coursework, students are prepared to tackle these classes in high school,” she said. “Many students are so ahead they end up enrolling at TSTC as dual enrollment students.”

To enroll in the program students must be sponsored by their school districts, have A’s and B’s in their coursework and have a desire to pursue a STEM program of study and complete an application and essay.

“This program is very competitive. The best of the best are selected to participate,” said Yvette Mendoza, program director for the Center for Science and Math Education. “It is so rewarding to watch them learn, grow and build friendships.”

As for Trevino, he was one of those students Balli and Mendoza saw grow up and he said he is very glad to be back.

“My goal is to give them the confidence they need to learn and trust in what they’re learning and doing,” said Mendoza. “I hope I’m able to come back each summer and continue helping students learn and grow their interest in STEM fields.”