Water Security for Texas: Creating Educational Pathways and Cultivating Leadership for the Water Work Force

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation: Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program ( S-STEM)

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Over its five-year duration (2021-2026), this federally-sponsored project will fund scholarships to 33 unique full-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Biology (BIOL), Water Resources Science and Technology (WATR), Mathematics (MATH), Electronic System Engineering Technology (ESET), and other natural and physical science majors. The scholarship recipients (scholars) will primarily include both first-year students and third-year students (including transfer students). Scholarships are renewable, pending on performance evaluation over the awarded period. This project will leverage the scholarship, mentorship, and direct involvement of students in research as the pathway to achieving student success. The project’s unique feature is the formation of undergraduate research and outreach clusters concentrating on tackling the water resources challenges for a region projected to experience one of the fastest growths in the nation. While the mentoring activities may vary by discipline, the faculty mentors will align their co-curricular activities with the core idea of experiential learning involving field studies, social engagement, and need-based research. The faculty-led undergraduate research activities will include but not limited to: (1) The analysis of water security in the increasing urbanized areas of south-central Texas, (2) low-impact restoration and development in sensitive watersheds; and (3) Socio-economic impact of water equality. The project will also support curriculum improvements to increase the retention and graduation of this student population.