UHV News

UHV News

UHV receives $30,000 grant for STEM camps, activities

Middle and high school students of the Crossroads can continue to look forward to summer robotics camps and other computer science activities at the University of Houston-Victoria, thanks to a $30,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation.

The grant will fund camps and events, including an after-school robotics course for high school students, two summer camps for high school students, two summer camps for middle school students and the annual UHV Math & Robotics Awareness Day. All the events are open to students in Victoria and surrounding counties.

“Alcoa Foundation is proud to continue our support for the University of Houston-Victoria’s robotics program. This investment advances one of our core impact areas of education by providing students with skills to enter the STEM fields. We look forward to hearing about their experiences in the program and how it has prepared them to continue with higher level education and enter the labor market in the future,” said Rosa Garcia Pineiro, President of Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation has been a UHV supporter for more than 30 years, and through the foundation’s generosity, the university has been able to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and careers to students in the Crossroads.

Amjad Nusayr
Amjad Nusayr

For the 2022-2023 academic year, UHV will host an after-school robotics course for high school students. Students in the course will use VEX IQ robotics kits, which are suitable for all levels of programming experience, said Amjad Nusayr, a UHV associate professor of computer science, director of the computer science program and co-organizer of the Math & Robotics Awareness Day. For this course, students will work on a project and showcase it during Math & Robotics Awareness Day. The new kits also will allow students to prepare for regional robotics competitions.

During the summer, there will be a high school robotics camp, a high school virtual data science boot camp, a middle school robotics camp and the Texas Women in Computing camp for middle school students of all genders. The camps are intended for students in Victoria and the surrounding areas.

“UHV wants to serve the community, and we are excited to have students from all over the Victoria area at UHV, learning about STEM fields and topics,” Nusayr said. “We are grateful to Alcoa Foundation for their continued support. Through this grant, students in the community can learn more about what their future in STEM can look like.”

Each year, about 200 high school students from Victoria, Gonzales, DeWitt, Lavaca, Colorado, Wharton, Jackson, Calhoun, Goliad, Refugio, Aransas, Bee, Karnes and Matagorda counties visit UHV for Math & Robotics Awareness Day. During the annual event, students have the opportunity to meet and interact with members of UHV’s math and science faculty, watch demonstrations, visit booths set up by various groups and companies, and attend sessions focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics. High school students also can compete in computer science and mathematics tests and win prizes.

Ricardo Teixeira
Ricardo Teixeira

The event is typically held in the spring and is one of the best days of the year on campus for Ricardo Teixeira, a UHV associate professor of mathematics and co-organizer of Math & Robotics Awareness Day. As a result of Alcoa Foundation’s continued support, the camps and events have reached thousands of students in the area and have helped students learn more about STEM fields and how math and science-based jobs can help their careers and communities, he said.

In addition to learning more about STEM fields, the students who attend the camps and Math & Robotics Awareness Day also learn what it is like to be a UHV student and receive help from UHV faculty. Throughout the years, parents and former participants have kept in touch with Teixeira, sometimes asking for help on math problems or letters of recommendation.

“We have a great team here at UHV, and to receive another grant from Alcoa Foundation is confirmation to us that we are doing a great job here,” Teixeira said. “We have passion for what we do and love partnering with the community to help show students all the possibilities of STEM.”

To learn more about degrees that are offered through the UHV College of Natural & Applied Science, go to www.uhv.edu/natural-applied-science. Students and community members who would like to tour the UHV robotics lab can schedule a tour with Amjad Nusayr by emailing him at nusayra@uhv.edu.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 50 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.