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OLLU recognized for number of Hispanics in STEM programs

Our Lady of the Lake University has been recognized nationally for its success with promoting Hispanics in the important STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A national study by the University of Southern California’s Center (USC) for Urban Education identified OLLU as one of 25 universities with effective practices for increasing the number of Latino recipients of bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields. The report, titled “Benchmarking the Success of Latina and Latino Students in STEM to Achieve National Graduation Goals,” states: “Taking into account such factors as institutional type, enrollment, and number of STEM majors, we identified four-year Hispanic Serving Institution colleges and universities that are producing more than their expected share of Latino STEM baccalaureates.”

“Hispanics are significantly underrepresented across the nation in STEM degree fields,” said OLLU President Tessa Martinez Pollack, PhD. “This report focuses national attention on two cutting levels -- on San Antonio as a city committed to the crucial fields of biosciences, healthcare and technology and on OLLU, an inner city university that understands and applies robust practices to reach, teach, and graduate Mexican American students as an equally crucial and expanding talent pool to advance the future of our nation.”  

The USC study compared the percentage of overall Hispanic enrollment, the percentage of Hispanic enrollment in STEM degree areas and the percentage of STEM degrees awarded to Hispanics. OLLU has an overall Hispanic undergraduate enrollment of 77.1 percent, an 80.1 percent Hispanic enrollment in STEM majors, and 78.2 percent of STEM degrees awarded to Hispanics. Nationally, data shows that only about 8 percent of bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields are awarded to Hispanics.

Adding to OLLU’s success in this area is a recently awarded $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to further develop the University’s science and math degree programs.

OLLU’s impact is also reaching far into the future. The University maintains a Center for Science and Mathematics Education that supports area school teachers in building science and math skills in elementary, middle and high school students.

The entire USC report can be accessed online at http://cue.usc.edu/news/NSF-Report.pdf.

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