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August 2010 Newsletter

Prefreshman Engineering Program Closing Ceremony

The San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) held its Closing Ceremony to celebrate its 32nd class of aspiring engineers on July 30th. PREP is an academically intense, seven-week program that teaches middle and high school students abstract reasoning and problem solving skills to introduce them to careers in engineering and related fields.

Astronaut and electrical engineer José Moreno Hernández made the Closing's keynote address. In 2001, Hernández began working for the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. In 2004, he was chosen for astronaut training, which he completed in 2006. Last summer, he took his first trip into space on NASA's STS-128 Space Shuttle mission, making history as the first astronaut to tweet from space in Spanish.

Between 3,500 and 4,000 individuals gathered for this event. During the ceremony, PREP recognized distinguished graduates who have completed three to four years in the program, many of whom received scholarships from local two year colleges and four-year universities. Last year, PREP students earned over one million in scholarships to attend Texas schools and major in science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

In addition, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro attended the event along with leaders from the San Antonio Water System. Together, they presented PREP with a $100,000 sponsorship check to support the program's continued operation.

PREP began in 1979 at one venue with 44 students. Now, the program spans five years, including PREP I, II, II, and IV as well as University PREP (UPREP), which is for college credit. Today, PREP's combined programs serve 1,375 students at nine locations in San Antonio, about 2,600 PREP students in other Texas cities and approximately 500 students in other states participating in the program.