Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas Agriculture Commissioner grants South Texas College’s DEMSA $100K

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples awarded $100,000 to South Texas College’s Starr County Campus Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA). At the grant check presentation from left are STC President Shirley A. Reed, Texas State Representative for District 31 Ryan Guillen, STC Starr County Campus Site Coordinator Ruben Saenz, STC Associate Dean of High School Programs Nick Gonzalez, Rio Grande High School DEMSA Student Jose Luis Garcia Jr., STC Coordinator of Dual Enrollment Academies Guadalupe Chavez, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, and STC Vice President for Academic Affairs Juan Mejia.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples awarded $100,000 to South Texas College’s Starr County Campus Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA). The academy provides qualifying Rio Grande City and Roma high school students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in biology weeks before graduating high school.
The grant is made possible through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s new Parallel Pathways to Success Pilot Grant Program, an initiative designed to provide eligible high schools, institutions of higher learning and other similar organizations with funding for programs that give rural Texas students the opportunity to learn workforce skills and training, and earn college credit prior to high school graduation.
“South Texas College has created an innovative model for other schools around the state,” Commissioner Staples said. “A program like the Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy at South Texas College is a terrific example of a parallel avenue offered to students to earn the skills they need to fill local jobs and enter the workforce. This creates careers for our young adults and keeps top-notch businesses in and coming to Texas.”
Students apply for the two-year dual enrollment academy as sophomores and are accepted based on their academic achievements and commitment to personal enrichment. Through STC’s DEMSA participants have access to unique opportunities like internships at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, college tours, college scholarship application assistance, receiving certifications in CPR and first aid, receiving academic and life success counseling and participating in community service programs.
"STC's DEMSA is creating invaluable opportunities for students like me and help us make good decisions," said Jose Luis Garcia Jr., Rio Grande High School DEMSA student. "Before I never thought about going to college and whenever someone mentioned the word college to me, all I thought about was thousands of dollars in tuition and big, thick books. Joining DEMSA was the best decision of my life because now all I see is my future as a doctor. I want to thank Mr. Staples for his investment in our futures. I can assure him we will not let him down."
To date, more than 40 students have graduated from STC’s DEMSA, going on to study at premier colleges across the state including Baylor University, The University of Texas-San Antonio Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and The University of Texas-Pan American.
“According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 39 percent of Rio Grande Valley residents over the age of 25 do not earn a high school diploma, much less a college degree and that statistic is startling,” said Dr. Shirley A. Reed, STC president. “STC’s DEMSA students are the exception. They have a passion for the medical field motivating them to complete high school and two years of college while, at the same time, juggling a full academic schedule with extracurricular activities, volunteer work, family life and work obligations. We are so proud to now partner with the Texas Department of Agriculture to further extend our commitment to reaching even more Starr County students through our innovation with DEMSA. “
In total, TDA selected five programs to receive funding through the Parallel Pathways to Success Pilot Program. For more information about the program, visit TDA’s Web site at
For more information about South Texas College visit For more information about the college’s DEMSA contact Guadalupe Chavez at 956-872-3499.

No comments:

Post a Comment