Math programs help students prepare for STEM majors

Jump Start at St. Mary’s University is a summer program that helps students acquire the necessary mathematical knowledge to be successful in their STEM majors.

In its third year, the program saw a steady increase in enrollment with 59 participants, up from 55 in 2015 and 47 in 2014.

In Jump Start, students apply to take college algebra or precalculus in a focused, intensive environment.

The program “blends academics, tutoring and peer mentoring, college success skills, interaction with faculty members from across the school, and fun social activities,” said Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Funded by a $2.6 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Jump Start especially targets first-generation college students.

“Jump Start has been very successful in creating a small community of students who start their college experience earlier and are able to build strong relationships with their peers, faculty and staff,” said Paulina Cano, Title V STEM Academic Coordinator. “The time they spend in the classroom and in planned activities allows them to start the fall semester with great confidence and a better understanding of what it means to be a SET student.”

Jump Start is not the only St. Mary’s program that helps students get up to speed on math.

Hotwire, a spring semester program offered by the Department of Mathematics, “provides an accelerated sequence of one section of Calculus I followed by a section of Calculus II in eight-week formats,” said Ian Martines, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor of Mathematics. “If a student enters St. Mary’s behind in their degree plan, this program provides an alternative to taking the five-week summer Calculus II course.”


St. Mary's University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,800 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.

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