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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M engineering to join forces with South Texas College in fall 2023

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A new engineering academy is born through the collaborative efforts of Texas A&M and South Texas College.

 

Amidst notoriously cutthroat engineering admissions, Texas A&M has partnered with South Texas College, or STC, to create a new hybrid engineering academic program.

STC, a chain of community colleges spanning locations from Weslaco to Rio Grande City will begin offering a unique synchronous program to the students in South Texas in the fall of 2023. This collaboration will allow participating engineering students to be co-enrolled with A&M and STC. Students will take the majority of their basic core curriculum classes in person at their choice campus. 

Additionally, they will enroll in online engineering courses: ENGR 102, Engineering Lab; 216, Experimental Physics and Engineering Lab II – Mechanics; and 217, Experimental Physics and Engineering Lab III – Electricity and Magnetism, taught by A&M associate professor of practice Leonel Alvarado. 

The program is similar to another operating through Houston Community College, although the location of STC widens the scope of A&M engineering candidates.
“South Texas College is significant because [the McAllen location] is historically underrepresented socioeconomically,” Alvarado said. “Having this program gives intellectually able students a chance to attend and graduate from Texas A&M that otherwise wouldn’t.”
This partnership caters to academically-apt students who may need more support to make the transition from high school to college, due to lack of high school resources or necessary supplemental support.

“It reaches students who are academically and intellectually prepared, but maybe need a smoother transition to college,” Alvarado said. “There’s an opportunity for smaller class sizes and more one-on-one with professors.”

As the only associate professor working alongside STC, Alvarado said he applied because it was something he wished he could have been a part of after high school.

“I want this opportunity for students to be able to finish here in College Station and I want to be able to bring it home,” Alvarado said. “It’s needed. It’s just something I’m really happy to be a part of. To be able to do this in McAllen is an opportunity I’m thankful for.” 

An estimated 40 to 50 students are expected to be initially enrolled in the fall of 2023, Alvarado said.

“My goal personally is to be the fastest-growing academy in history,” Alvarado said. “I want a hundred students by next year. I see the curve growing exponentially. I want there to be another professor within the next two years.” 

A&M mechanical engineering sophomore Ryan Turner said the program is an excellent way to reach students from those underfunded, on-the-border communities.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people who aren’t quite ready for such a large campus or the expenses of A&M,” Turner said. “It’s a good way to get more people into A&M engineering.” 

Manufacturing and mechanical engineering technologysophomore Chase Greenleaf said he supports this innovative academic program, given his experience attending the Galveston campus. 
“It’s different from attending a sister institution,” Greenleaf said. “Even going to Galveston or Prairie View, tuition and housing are still full price and classes are pretty big. Going through South Texas College will give students a better chance at success.”

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