September 26, 2016
Vol. 3, Issue 32
Board of Trustees

Chairman of the Board
Dr. Yvonne Katz
District 7

Vice Chair
Marcelo Casillas
District 4

Dr. Gene Sprague
District 6

Asst. Secretary
Denver McClendon
District 2

Joe Alderete, Jr.
District 1

Anna U. Bustamante
District 3

Roberto Zarate
District 5

Clint Kingsbery
District 8

James Rindfuss
District 9

Emmanuel Nyong
Student Trustee


Dr. Bruce Leslie
Alamo Colleges
Open Educational Resources Save PAC Students Money on Textbooks
Alamo Colleges - Palo Alto College students save money on the cost of course materials with Open Educational Resources.

This semester, students at Alamo Colleges - Palo Alto College (PAC) have the option to enroll in over 225 sections that offer Open Educational Resources (OER), freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media. When courses use OER, students do not need to purchase textbooks, which has already resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in student savings.

In fall 2016, a total of 225 sections are using OER materials. The total savings for the students in these sections, based upon the price of new textbooks, is $499,746. That amounts to over $900,000 in savings in two years, and the free resources have proven beneficial in many ways to students and faculty alike.

By integrating OER, students are empowered to bring their own research to share with the class. Some students, like Ashley Merchant, have already taken OER in high school and believe the OER model facilitates more engagement in the classroom.

"If you're able to create something to help individual learning styles and help students connect to the materials, it means more to them and it's going to stick with them a lot longer," said Merchant, who is studying at PAC to become a teacher.

Alamo Colleges - San Antonio College Student Interns at NASA's Langley Research Center
SAC student Eben Pfeil interned as a molecular contamination investigator with NASA.

As part of his internship earlier this year, Alamo Colleges - San Antonio College (SAC) student Eben Pfeil would put on a special suit, three layers of gloves, and enter a room that never had more than 15 nanoparticles in a cubic foot of air. Eben was working in the very clean environment at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia as a molecular contamination investigator.

Eben learned about the internship when a NASA representative brought the agency's One Stop Shopping Initiative to the SAC campus. The initiative promoted the many internships available at NASA, and Eben applied for a number of opportunities, mostly in his field of mechanical engineering. He was surprised to find out that the internship he landed was in molecular research.

The work was challenging and Eben said it gave him a transformative look into the career field he wants to pursue. "Anyone who does not know what they want to do should try one of the NASA internships."

Eben plans to finish his associate degree this fall and intends to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin next year.

NVC's MIM Scholarship Project provided scholarships
for students pursuing STEM fields of study.

Alamo Colleges - Northwest Vista College Grant Program a Success for STEM Scholars

Thanks to a grant awarded to Alamo Colleges - Northwest Vista College (NVC) five years ago, 102 students were given the opportunity to not only earn hefty scholarships but also were able to go further in math and science. Recent grant results show the program was a success for the participants - many of them minority students who were academically talented but needed financial help.

Because of NVC's MIM Scholarship Project, 169 scholarships were awarded at an amount of $3,466 each semester. Some students were able to get the scholarship more than once. Originally the goal was to provide 150 scholarships over the life of the grant, but 19 more grants were awarded due to numerous applications that were submitted by students.

The five-year award was the first National Science Foundation grant awarded to NVC, which totaled $596,049 for the entire grant cycle. The project was led by Dr. Claudia Verdin, who served as the principal investigator, and Javier Guerra and Manuel Escobar, both who served as co-principal investigators.

"The scholarships gave an opportunity to these students to meet people from the STEM fields like Southwest Research Institute," said Verdin. "One of the many accomplishments we have is that we had a group of nine students that got accepted into UT Austin during the spring 2012 semester. Most of our students keep in touch and even invite us to their graduations. The majority of the scholarship recipients got a degree in STEM. And one of them is working on his doctorate in physics at UTSA."

The project proposed to provide intensive math courses, such as calculus, to 80 percent of the recipients, 82.35 percent of the students were successful in completing their advanced math courses with grades of "B" or better and maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. Also, 
three scholarship participants were selected to be a part of the Community College Internship at NASA, with all expenses paid. Additionally, two participants were selected by the National Science Foundation as winners of the 2013 Student Award of Excellence.

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The Alamo Colleges mission is: empowering our diverse communities for success. Our vision is: the Alamo Colleges will be the best in the nation in student success and performance excellence. The Alamo Colleges is one district with five community colleges serving more than 90,000 students annually from Bexar County and seven other counties in our service area. We provide an affordable, quality college education that leads to associate degrees, certificates and transfers to four-year universities. Hundreds of thousands of Bexar County residents who have come through the Alamo Colleges education programs are major contributors to the economy and culture of Sa
n Antonio.