UTRGV UTeach students present research at Interventions conference in San Antonio

By Vicky Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – APRIL 18, 2017 – Nine students from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s UTeach program presented their research findings at the ninth annual Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science Careers conference.

The conference, held in March at the Sheraton Gunter in downtown San Antonio, was designed to provide attendees with models, methods and hands-on tools adaptable to different types of classrooms.

The nine UTRGV students who attended the conference included Felicia Rodriguez, Leslie De la Peña, Erica Hinojosa, Nina Olvera, Lizbeth Morales, Yakeline Tijerina, Valeria del Bosque, Esmeralda Lopez and Elizabeth Lozano.

The following UTRGV students completed research presentations:

  • Rodriguez, Hinojosa, Lopez and Olvera co-presented “Attitudes Toward STEM: Factors That May Influence Pre-College Hispanic Female Students’ Performance in a STEM Summer Camp.”
  • De la Peña, Morales, Tijerina, del Bosque and Olvera co-presented “Nothing Is Impossible: Characteristics of Persistent Hispanic Females in STEM.”

They presented their findings as part of a symposium titled “Deeper Dive,” led by Dr. Alejandro Gallard, Goizueta Distinguished Chair of Education Teaching and Learning at Georgia Southern University. 

Dr. Angela Chapman, UTRGV assistant professor of science education, Department of Teaching and Learning, said their research described “how Hispanic female participation in the Railway STEM Summer Camps, hosted by the UTRGV University Transportation Center for Railway Safety, decreases from elementary to high school, and that academic achievement also decreases. However, informal STEM opportunities help to improve participation and achievement. The students described how Hispanic females in the Rio Grande Valley persist in their pursuit of STEM, even from a young age.”

Based on the success of the symposium, the UTRGV students have been invited to return in 2018 to deliver a plenary session for the entire conference of 1,000 participants.

The students also attended workshops and seminars, and had an opportunity to network with STEM education faculty and professionals from around the country.

The conference served as an opportunity for the group to engage in teaching and research as part of an internship.

“The students are not only developing research skills, but also connecting theory to practice,” Chapman said. “I have seen tremendous growth in them.”

This conference is supported in part by funding from the National Science Foundation. Also, two Engaged Scholar Awards, each for $2,000, from UTRGV made the students’ presentations at the conference possible.


UTeach is a four-year, teacher preparation program for science and math majors, modeled after the nationally recognized UTeach program established at UT Austin in 1997. UTeach programs prepare STEM teachers for secondary classrooms and offers training for teachers already in the classroom.


UTRGV Informational Writer / 956-882-4330

UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications 956-665-2742