Monday, March 26, 2018
  Announcements, Alumni

By Marci Caltabiano-Ponce

McALLEN, TEXAS – The McAllen Founders and McAllen South Rotary clubs each has made a $2,000 donation to the UTRGV Office of Continuing Education, to be used as scholarship money for high school students to attend the coming JSTEM (Journalism, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Project Based Inquiry (PBI) program.

The donations will be distributed as four individual $1,000 scholarships to selected students from McAllen, Edinburg and Mission.

UTRGV Office of Continuing Education Director Jayshree Bhat said community support from the clubs is important for area students.

“The Rotary members understood that such programs make a significant impact on young minds and help carve their future careers in the STEM and journalism fields,” Bhat said.

Fred Del Barrio, president of McAllen Founders Rotary Club, said the donation was made in honor of two Rotarians who passed away recently: Pete Pranis and Rev. Max Grubb.

“Both of these men were advocates for our youth and their education,” he said.

Dan Worthington, president of McAllen South Rotary Club, said the donation will serve students who otherwise would not have the financial means to participate in the program.

“This program is the type of engagement which not only furthers the Rotary mandate under the Rotary 4 Way Test, but also reflects our commitment to the specialized needs of our community,” he said.

Both Rotary clubs are part of the Illinois-based Rotary International, a global organization that combats community issues and quality of life challenges through education and job training.

The efforts to seek funds from the local Rotary clubs were strongly supported by ULEAD Network, a group of graduates of UTRGV and its legacy institution, The University of Texas-Pan American. The group strives to become an organization that discovers leaders and promotes civic engagement to positively transform the Rio Grande Valley.

The third installment of the JSTEM PBI summer camp will be held between June 4 and July 13 at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. It is led by Dr. Angela Chapman, assistant professor and co-director of the UTeach program from the UTRGV College of Education and P-16 (CEP), and coordinated by the Office of Continuing Education.

Chapman enlists the support of faculty from both CEP and the colleges of Sciences and Engineering, as well as several research assistants, to fully execute the six-week program to provide a full breadth of knowledge to high school students.

“One of the unique aspects of this program is that high school students engage in real-world problem solving through collaboration with experts in the field, STEM professionals,” Chapman said.

The experience has proven valuable for previous participants, who say they leave the camp with a better understanding of different types of careers as well as an increased focus on their own personal and professional goals.

This PBI program allows high school students to learn concepts of journalism, science, technology, engineering and math, as well as problem-solving, self-directed learning and collaboration skills to succeed in college.

High school students interested in the JSTEM Program Scholarship can apply for it by April 5, 2018. Recipients will be announced by April 13.

The JSTEM program application is available at

For more information about the UTRGV Office of Continuing Education, contact (956) 665-2071 or


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.