How San Antonio College fits in City Mission

Helen Torres
Guest Blogger

San Antonio College is participating in the upcoming STEM Expo Nov. 8-9 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This Expo aims to reach out to middle school students in five school districts: Edgewood, Southwest, South San, San Antonio and Harlandale.

Helen Torres

Helen Torres

Among the interactive sessions will be various SAC departments. These include: Dr. Dan Dimitriu, Engineering; Dan Suttin, math tutor; and Troy Touchette, Computer Information Services. Touchette will be accompanied by students from the Information and Technology and Security Academy. They took top honors in March at the CyberPatriot IV-The National High School Cyber Defense Competition in Washington, D.C.

The interactive sessions are designed to spark student interest in STEM careers at an early age. The overall goal of the college, businesses and city is to encourage engineers and scientists in San Antonio and keep the brainpower here. If we grow our city’s workforce in the STEM areas, San Antonio will attract strong business and industries that will pay competitive wages and raise income levels in San Antonio.

San Antonio College faculty have stepped up again to support community initiatives, the Mayor’s Educational 2020 goals, and support SAC’s goals of improved student success.

This partnership is a win-win for future SAC students who are being exposed to STEM careers early, and for the future workforce of the City of San Antonio.

Helen Torres, SAC’s Director of Partnerships & Extended Services, serves on the Hispanic Chamber Education Committee, and is responsible for forging college partnerships like this one with the Hispanic Chamber, UTSA, and area school districts.

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Myths (and Truths) about winning the Texas Lottery

Gerald Busald, math professor and lottery buster

Gerald Busald

San Antonio College Math Professor Gerald Busald’s statistics classes have had interaction with the Texas Lottery since February 1997, when they discovered incorrectly advertised jackpot amounts for the Cash 5 game.

These SAC classes have been instrumental in causing numerous changes to the way the Texas Lottery does business. They were directly responsible for Spanish being included on the lotteries web pages. Professor Busald has studied other state’s lotteries and recommended “best practices” to the Texas Lottery, all of which have been adopted. His classes have had numerous appearances on television and had stories about them in local, state, and national newspapers. 

Gerald Busald
Guest Blogger

Not everything you think you know about the Texas Lottery is really true.

MYTH 1: I won $10 on a scratch-off ticket! Never true, because you paid something for that $10 ticket. If you paid $1, you won $9; if you paid $5 you won $5, and if you paid $10 you just broke even!

TRUTH 1: The more tickets I buy for an online game (Lotto, PowerBall, Mega Millions, Texas Two Step) the more likely I am to win. True, however that does not make it a good idea! For example, the probability of winning the top prize in Mega Millions with 1 ticket is 1 in 175,711,536. If you buy 10 tickets, the odds of winning the top prize becomes 1 in 17,571,153.6. To put those numbers in perspective, 175,711,536 seconds is over 5.5 years! Even if you spent $10, we’re talking 203.37 days. SAVE YOUR MONEY!

MYTH 2: If I buy a ticket for every drawing I’m bound to win eventually. Not true, the lottery balls never remember that you lost the last umpteenth times in a row, your odds for the next drawing will still be 1 in 17,571,536.

MYTH 3 (and half-truth): Lottery profits go to help education. The biggest education most get is that the more they play, the more they lose. However, since 1997 all Texas Lottery proceeds have been transferred to the Foundation School Fund to support public education in Texas. However, legislators have often simply used those proceeds to decrease the amount they must take from the general revenue fund to support education. Education doesn’t really benefit!

Gerald Busald has received several teaching awards: the Texas Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges Teaching Excellence Award, the NISOD Award, and the Yellow Rose of Texas Teaching Excellence Award. He also was named a 2011 Piper Professor.

Adelante Tejas – Year one nears completion

 By Title V Grant staff
 Guest Bloggers

In October 2011, San Antonio College (SAC) and Sul Ross State University (SRSU) began the Adelante Tejas (Forward Texas) grant partnership to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education for Hispanic and low-income Texas students. This Title V grant seeks to increase the number of students declaring STEM majors at SAC and matriculate them through to corresponding graduate programs at SRSU.

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Counselor Rosa Maria Gonzalez and Instructor Alfred Alaniz advise a SAC student.

SAC’s grant support staff came on board in early 2012, which included a web master, a programmer, a student success specialist, a research specialist, and a pipeline coordinator. Grant staff from SAC and SRSU quickly began a comfortable long-distance working relationship.

In April 2012, Sul Ross hosted the first site visit in Alpine, for six San Antonio College delegates. Faculty and staff from both institutions met their counterparts, toured the university campus, visited the McDonald Observatory and explored Big Bend National Park together.

In June 2012 the combined Adelante Tejas team conducted a three-day STEM Summer Institute at San Antonio College to introduce faculty to new technological opportunities that could enhance STEM instruction.

Attendees learned how audiovisual podcasts could be used to supplement traditional classes and each recorded a short podcast to get more comfortable with the process. The Adelante Tejas grant calls for the development of 10 podcasts per year. As of this writing, nine podcasts have been recorded and eight have been delivered.

The Summer Institute participants also learned about 3D visualization technologies and were shown examples of how those could supplement STEM classes to clarify difficult concepts or to virtually ‘share’ bulky classroom models and physical artifact samples with students. Currently, faculty has proposed six 3D visualization projects and four proof-of-concept examples have been completed.

Fostering student-faculty rapport was the focus of an intensive four-day academic advising training institute that took place in July at SAC. Nine SAC faculty members and the SRSU Adelante Tejas director, Leslie Hopper, attended the institute. Video of these training sessions was streamed live over the Internet for those SRSU faculty and staff who were not able to attend.

This advising institute was designed to equip faculty with the tools, support and encouragement needed to advise students. In addition to training and workshop exercises, question and answer sessions with students gave the faculty first-hand exposure to real student concerns and insight into relevant advising strategies. Grant representatives, with assistance from staff and faculty from both institutions, are developing an institutional articulation agreement and a draft has been proposed. In addition to the agreement draft, three majors have been selected for the development of transfer guides. These include a BS in Biology, BS in Wildlife-Biology and a BS in Mathematics. A draft for the BS in Mathematics has been developed and has been presented for approval to department chairs at both institutions.

As part of the articulation agreement discussion, several instruments that would assist in the SAC to SRSU transfer process have been considered for inclusion. The addition of a consortium agreement would allow students to receive credit for hours enrolled at SAC to be considered in their financial aid package from Sul Ross for each semester they are co-enrolled. Also, a joint admissions agreement would allow SAC students to receive academic and financial advising through web-conferencing from SRSU staff before official admission into SRSU.

Representatives from both institutions continue to hold weekly web conferences and plan to finalize the articulation agreement, the BS in Mathematics transfer planning guide, the consortium agreement and the joint admissions agreement in anticipation of a signing ceremony in Spring 2013.

In August 2012, some 10 members of SAC’s faculty and staff (along with one student) visited the Sul Ross campus and learned more about the unique field research opportunities available to students in and around the West Texas Chisos Mountain range. SAC geology major Reuben Uribe met with SRSU graduate students and was invited to participate in hydrology field research the following week. This unexpected invitation is a prime example of the collaboration that can develop from this partnership.

As the first grant year comes to a close, SAC and Sul Ross have developed a solid foundation for the success of the Adelante Tejas grant and we are looking forward to the next four years.

T-STEM Scholarships will award $170,000

There is a huge problem in this country with students NOT choosing majors within the sciences. Because of a grant which provides students with scholarship money, SAC is making it a little bit easier for students to award students for majoring in STEM.

Through the T-STEM grant, San Antonio College aims to award 68 students with a scholarship valued at $2,500 each for a whopping grand total of $170,000 just for SAC students! Currently, about 35 SAC students have applied for the scholarships. “We’ll go until we give them all out,” said Angela Stewart, T-STEM liaison. She continued to explain, “If the other four Alamo Colleges don’t award every one of their 68 scholarships, we stand ready to find an eligible SAC student that can use the money.”

Stewart also said, “The most important step in the application process is to provide an official high school transcript.” Remember, if you don’t apply, you don’t even have a shot. Eligible students are encouraged to apply at www.secure.alamo.edu/scholarship/application.aspx, but if a student already completed an Alamo Colleges Scholarship Application then he/she will be automatically considered.

Alamo Colleges and SAC faculty and staff go above and beyond to find opportunities for students to be successful. It is important to us that we give our students a push in the right direction. If this scholarship money can make all the difference for even one student, then it is worth all the time and effort. 

Any current or incoming student who has declared a major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) instructional program or specific Allied Health program, and has a minimum GPA of 3.0 in high school math and science courses is eligible to apply.

The student must agree to complete 30 hours in the 2012-2013 academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer), and must complete 80 percent of coursework per semester. Additionally, males between the ages of 18 and 25 must be registered with the Selective Service System.

So, if you know anyone that should apply, tell them to get on the ball! And, if you are a student yourself, DOOOOOOO IT already! A list of eligible majors is below.

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Eligible majors include:

Astronomy

Biology (including Biology/Pre-nursing, Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Veterinary)

Computer Programmer

Computer Support Specialist

Computer Database Specialist

Information Security and Assurance

CADD Civil Design

Chemistry

Cisco Certified Network Associate

Computer Desktop Support Technician

Computer Forensic

Computer programing intermediate

Computer support specialist

Drafting/design engineering technologies

Information Technology and Security academy (ITSA)

Dental Assisting/Assistant

Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician

Emergency Medical Technician

Engineering: All types…Chemical Engineering, Aerospace, Architectural, Civil, Computer, Mechanical, etc.

Engineering Technology

Geological and Earth Sciences

Mathematics

Medical Assisting

Physical Sciences

Physics

(*Note: Nursing is NOT an eligible major for T-STEM Scholarships).