St. Mary’s University was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Hispanic Serving Institutions – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (HSI-STEM) program. The University will receive more than $5.3 million for its Excellence in STEM Education program over five years between fall 2016 and fall 2021. The grant is intended to support STEM education at St. Mary’s and provide a strong boost to the implementation of the University’s strategic vision for the School of Science, Engineering and Technology.


The HSI STEM — Excellence in STEM Education program has the following overarching goals:

  • Increase the number of Hispanic and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged students enrolling and persisting in STEM fields of study
  • Develop new STEM programs and strengthen existing academic courses
  • Increase capacity to connect students to STEM educational opportunities
  • Improve STEM laboratory facilities
  • Promote best practices in student services: advising, coaching, and social and academic support

Areas of Focus

To accomplish the HSI STEM — Excellence in STEM Education initiatives, the grant will assist St. Mary’s University in funding:

  • The enhancement of the Forensic Science program
  • The creation of a new undergraduate Bioinformatics program
  • Streamlined transfer services for STEM students at the Alamo Colleges
  • Coaching services for Hispanic, first-generation, and/or low-income STEM majors
  • Renovation and equipment for Biology and Chemistry laboratories, including wireless instruction upgrades
  • A system for connecting STEM students to industry projects and research

Project Staff

Jennifer Morris
Activity Coordinator

Geetu Rajpal
Data Analyst

David Turner, Ph.D.
Project Director

David Zeff
STEM Coach

Jennifer Harr, Ph.D.
Forensic Science Specialist

Erika Schwarz Taylor, Ph.D.
Bioinformatics Specialist

Steve Smith
Lab Technician

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