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TRIO ceremony
TRIO ceremony
Top: Rep. Ciro Rodriguez and UTSA President Ricardo Romo
Bottom: TRIO Programs participants with UTSA mascot Rowdy
Roadrunner (Photos by Mark McClendon)

McNair grants to strengthen TRIO Programs

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(Nov. 12, 2007)--UTSA received more than $17 million in federal funding in the last 17 years for its TRIO Programs, which help low-income, first-generation students earn a college degree. That support will extend even further with $1.1 million for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

Established in 1986 after the death of astronaut and engineer Ronald McNair in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, the McNair grants are designed to increase the attainment of doctoral degrees by low-income, first-generation college students, including groups underrepresented in doctoral studies.

The five-year McNair grants will support 25 students annually who are pursuing doctoral studies through research opportunities, summer internships, academic counseling, and assistance in securing admission and financial aid.

To celebrate the announcement, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez joined UTSA President Ricardo Romo, TRIO executive director for outreach Rita Cortez and high school students from John Jay, Warren and Marshall high schools who are already enrolled in the TRIO Programs.

Romo and Rodriguez, both of whom ran track and were raised in low-income families on San Antonio's West Side, encouraged the students to set high goals, take positive chances and continue learning throughout their lives.

"The beauty of education is that it gives you opportunities and opens up choices for you," said Rodriguez. "An education gives you the opportunity to pursue what you enjoy doing in your life."

Rodriguez expressed the need for more students to enroll in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses, since increasing demand is expected for doctors, scientists and engineers.

Since 1990, more than 15,000 students have participated in UTSA's TRIO Programs.

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