Thursday, April 12, 2018
  Awards and Recognitions

By News and Internal Communications

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $249,992 grant to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for support of their project, “NSF INCLUDES Symposium for ADVANCING STEM Latinas in Academic Careers.”

Spearheading the project are Dr. Ala Qubbaj, vice provost of Faculty Affairs and Diversity, and Dr. Marie Mora, professor of Economics and associate vice provost for Faculty Diversity.  

“We are very excited that the NSF has funded this project, which will provide a national platform to discuss and address issues that affect the pathways/pipelines, recruitment, retention, and advancement of Latinas in STEM academic careers,” Mora said. “This will broaden their participation and inclusion in higher education.”

The “NSF INCLUDES Symposium for ADVANCING STEM Latinas in Academic Careers” program starts Aug. 1, 2018, and ends July 31, 2020. The funding will be used to host a two-part NSF INCLUDES symposium in spring 2019 and spring 2020.

The symposium will bring together a variety of NSF-funded broadening participation projects from across the country, such as NSF INCLUDES Pilots and ADVANCE projects, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and national professional organizations that have a focus on enhancing the inclusion, participation and success of Latinas and other traditionally underrepresented minority groups in STEM careers.

“We also believe it will have a larger impact on our university and the region as a whole than if the project was hosted elsewhere,” Mora said. “Given our student demographics – the majority of whom are women and disproportionately Hispanic – having more Latinas on our STEM faculty, including in leadership positions, will provide more role models to our students and inspire future leaders in STEM from the Rio Grande Valley.”

Mora said the NSF has been a financial supporter of UTRGV in the past with awards like the five-year, $3.1 million NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, which focuses on increasing the representation and advancement of women in STEM fields, and a three-year, $499,352 grant for the American Economic Association’s mentoring program

“The NSF has been generous in its support to UTRGV for a variety of projects, including funding research projects for many of our faculty members as well as at the institutional level,” she said.


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.