The U.S. Department of Education awarded St. Mary’s University a Title V, Part A grant through the Developing Hispanic–Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program, Award Number P031S190118. The University will receive $2,966,348 over five years between Fall 2019 and Fall 2024 for its “Building Capacity for Excellence in STEM Education” (BEST) Project. The grant will create capacity within the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology to better serve not only Hispanic students, but all students through new and updated Engineering curriculum, faculty development and student programming.


The Title V – BEST Project has the following overarching institutional goals:

  • Increase enrollment and graduation rates of Engineering students, especially Hispanic students
  • Revise Engineering baccalaureate programs for ABET accreditation
  • Develop new and innovative STEM programs and facilities to improve post-graduate opportunities
  • Increase faculty’s capacity to serve the needs of our students
  • Increase the capacity of STEM student organizations to prepare students for post-graduate opportunities

Major Activities

To accomplish the goals of the BEST Project, St. Mary’s is implementing the following activities:

  • Develop an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or drones) concentration and laboratory
  • Redesign the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management program
  • Develop a Construction Management Certificate curriculum
  • Provide opportunities for faculty development in pedagogy, assessment, and student leadership development
  • Develop a model of student engagement for improved academic and post-graduate outcomes

Project Staff

Margarita Alarilla, Ed.D.
Project Director

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