Education

Edgewood High School Walkouts of ‘68

By Isa Fernández Isa Fernández, MPA is a Legacy Corridor Business Alliance Program Manager at Westside Development Corporation, a freelance photographer and peace and justice advocate. The time was set for nearly 3,000 Edgewood High School students - 9:20 AM on Thurs- day, May 16th, 1968. After months of planning, students would finally walk out of classes to protest the glaring inequalities of the public education system and gain national recognition by arguing public education inequities (due to how Texas public schools are funded in part by property taxes) were robbing them of their future by paving the way into a life of lower-paying employment or endanger their lives through military enlistment. Education and Civil Rights attorney and Edgewood High School alumni David Hinojosa relayed that while most states use approximately 10-20% of property taxes towards education, Texas is 50%, placing the burden on the local tax base to pay for public education. “Property taxes are incredibly disparate, focusing on above and below the ground rather than who is in the classroom,” says Hinojosa. As such, low- income residents experienced dramatic inequities despite Edgewood families paying one of the highest percentages of their income to Bexar county. Their grievances spurred parents to initiate a school finance equity fight that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Rodriguez v. SAISD (1973) and their political activism helped produce a notable generation of activists, educators, scholars and professionals working to promote justice and inspire new generations of activists. SCHOOL TEMPERATURE It was true. Students at Edgewood High School in 1968 were living and breathing in dilapidated conditions, freezing in the winter and melting in...

The First Minor to be Accepted Into A Post-Graduate Program at Harvard

By Javier Rojas At the age of 13, Mexican-born teenager Dafne Almazán had already become the youngest psychologist in the world. That alone would give you a reason to pause and marvel at her accomplishments. However, Almazán has made history once again for her academic accomplishments. She is set to become the first person under 18 years old to be enrolled in a post-graduate degree at Harvard University in the last 100 years. She will be pursuing a masters degree in math education and is expected to finish her studies at Harvard after just one year. Almazán is starting her next chapter to what has already been an incredible educational journey. Her journey to Harvard began at a very young age. By age six, she learned how to read and write, at 10 she completed high school and after three years at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) she had a degree in psychology, which made her the youngest psychologist in the world. Almazán is considered gifted and never studied in a traditional classroom. Her father, Asdrubal Almazán , who is a doctor, followed the “radical acceleration” method which means letting the child learn without any restrictions. This method helped Dafne reach her full potential and is credited with much of her intellectual successes. Yet school isn’t the only thing on her mind. On her free time she plays the piano, teaches Mandarin to other children and even practices taekwondo. “It’s not actually that hard, to be honest,” she told USA Today in 2015. “It’s not like getting up really early every day and staying up...

Alamo Colleges District Launches Alamo Online

By Kay C. Hendricks This month, the Alamo Colleges District literally rolled out its new online college initiative, complete with a VIA bus on site, emblazoned with an ad promoting AlamoONLINE—College When and Where You Want It. “In our efforts to make a college education accessible to as many residents of our region as possible, developing and promoting our online offerings plays a key role,” said Alamo Colleges District Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores. “With AlamoONLINE, we are ramping up our efforts to be the first choice of students seeking an associate degree or certificate online by offering in-demand programs, the highest quality instruction and robust support services, all at the most affordable cost in our area. We will continue to expand the programs we offer completely online as part of our strategy to enable more individuals to improve their social and economic mobility and the well-being of themselves, their families and their community,” he added. Joining Flores for the launch event were Alamo Colleges District Board of Trustees Chair Marcelo Casillas, St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston, together with Dr. George Railey, Jr., vice chancellor for academic success, and Dr. Luke Dowden, chief online learning officer and associate vice chancellor for AlamoONLINE. Studies show that 75% of online college students live within 100 miles of their school’s campus. The Alamo Colleges District’s service area covers Bexar county and seven surrounding counties, so more online degree and certificate programs are important for students who may prefer to save time and money by completing their associate degree or certificate online rather than commuting. AlamoONLINE will increase awareness of the...

Effective Family Communication

Effective communication within the family involves empathetic listening. All members should be allowed to express both positive and negative feelings to each other, without feeling judged or blamed for their thoughts and opinions. Active listening and better communication within a family starts at the parent or caregiver level. This relationship affects a family’s dynamic tremendously. There are a few things to take into consideration when establishing effective family communication. Think before you speak or react. Consider how your message will be interpreted. What is your current mood? If you are angry, you may project your anger out on others around you and say something you will regret. If you are stressed or anxious, you make react with strong emotions. Being angry, stressed or anxious does not justify your negative behavior towards others in your family. Children are very observant when their parents don’t follow through with their demands or consequences. When parents are not consistent, children may become confused and their behaviors will reflect these uncertainties. Parents and caregivers need to have realistic expectations that they regularly model. Is it fair to expect your children to behave in a way that you don’t? Taking a child’s current age and developmental level into consideration is important when it comes to expectations and discipline. When addressing an issue with a child, be clear, specific and avoid sarcasm, which can have a double meaning. Get to their level and make eye contact while talking and listening. Make sure your tone and body language are appropriate when delivering your message. If you are angry, its ok to take a “timeout” to calm down...

Born-and-bred UTSA scientist tackling the “Silent Epidemic”

By: Milady Nazir Althea Campuzano has spent her entire collegiate career at UTSA. As an undergraduate, she conducted research alongside Janakiram Seshu, who encouraged her to work on Lyme disease. Due to her interest in mycology, the study of fungi, she decided to continue at UTSA and she gained admission to the highly competitive Cell and Molecular Biology doctoral program. Under the direction of her new mentor, Floyd Wormley, Campuzano focused on how hosts recognize the invading fungal pathogen, Cryptocococcus spp., which is present in the environment. Once she completed her Ph.D. work in 2018, she opted to deepen her UTSA roots by working on post-doctoral research in Chiung-Yu Hung’s laboratory. There she works to develop a vaccine for a fungus, Coccidioides, that causes Valley Fever, a rare disease called by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the “silent epidemic. Valley Fever can cause flu-like symptoms, which may become deadly and spread from the lungs to the skin, bone and central nervous system. At just 29 years old, Campuzano works in a field where very few vaccines are developed to tackle exotic diseases caused by fungi. Recently, she was elected to be co-chair for the Gordon Research Seminar in Medical Mycology, a prestigious international scientific gathering which covers topics on frontier research. We interviewed Campuzano about why she chose to work in the field of niche diseases. You work on Valley Fever, one of new diseases that only occurs in North and South America. Why is this important to study? Valley fever is on the rise and was recently highlighted in the press. When there’s a disturbance of...

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Oral History Project

Last weekend, St.Philips college hosted the third annual Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project. The project uses the power of documented words to heal and create spiritual and social change by way of student-conducted interviews concerning experiences of racial discrimination of loved ones of color (African American and Latino/an origin). “In our efforts to heal from the effects of racial discord in America we must be willing to expose and hear the experiences of those who have suffered. Only by truly listening to those most impacted can we begin the process of healing and reconciliation,” said Project Director and Founder of the HBCU Oral History Project, Rev. Steve Miller. The event on Saturday was composed of 14 interview rooms with 2 students conducting interviews together in each room. About 40 people shared their stories of racism. President of the Student Government Association at St.Philips college, Angelina MJD Jacobs, sent personal invitation letters to churches, government leaders, and organizations in the area to promote the event. “Some people might think because racism does not exist in their areas, then it doesn’t exist at all, but we have to bring everyone into the conversation,” said Jacobs. “ We must engage our heads, hearts, and minds. The first step to get involved with these issues is to show up.” Rev. Miller said people of color have lost their agency because they feel depressed. “Oppression leads to depression and when you’re depressed you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and cry. Before you can do something about it, you have to allow yourself to...

One year in UTSA Dreamers Resource Center is Helping Students Succeed

By Courtney Balderas-Jacob The UTSA Dreamers Resource Center, established as part of the UTSA Presidential Initiative on Diversity and Inclusion, is celebrating a special milestone. Today marks one year since the center opened to educate the campus and community members about the needs of undocumented students, provide support services to help Dreamers achieve academic and personal success, and serve as a campus and community advocate. Located in the UTSA Student Union within the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion (SU 2.01.04) on the Main Campus, the Dreamers Resource Center has made a positive impact on dozens of students over the last year. Its staff has regularly engaged with students in one-on-one advising sessions, eased access to legal services via partnerships with local non-profit agencies, participated in outreach efforts to spread awareness of its services and assisted prospective students in the admissions and financial aid processes. Some of the UTSA Dreamers who were an integral part of the proposal and implementation of the center are now UTSA alumni. “The UTSA Dreamers Resource Center was envisioned over a decade ago by a bright group of student activists who had a vision of hope and resilience for future undocumented students at UTSA,” said Andrea Ramos Fernandez ’18. “One year after the opening of the Dreamer Center, I wish to admire the legacy of the students whose hard work and dedication brought a legacy of inclusion to our university. Thanks to their efforts, many students will have more opportunities to excel in their academic goals, regardless of their immigration status.” “The Dreamer Resource Center was a light of hope during my experiences...

Ariana Moncada: Solar Powers her Opportunity of a Lifetime

By Milady Nazir Ariana Moncada is a senior double majoring in math and statistics at UTSA. This coming spring, she will be only one of 20 students from across the U.S. to participate in a mini-semester program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This exclusive research facility is a government hub that develops the latest breakthroughs in new clean technologies. The UTSA student fought hard and won admission thanks in part to her work in developing UTSA’s Sky-Imager, a solar forecasting technology that uses machine learning to help the City of San Antonio determine how much solar energy to expect from local solar panels. We spoke to Ariana about this incredible internship opportunity: Can you describe your work with the Sky-Imager? I analyze images and weather data captured by the UTSA Sky-Imager, and I create machine learning models to forecast solar irradiance. The solar irradiance then can be used to predict how much power solar panels can produce. How did you feel when you were notified about your acceptance to the NREL program? I was ecstatic! I’ll get to see with my very own eyes research at “THE” renewable energy lab. Although, I’ll admit, reality still hasn’t set in yet. I still can’t believe I’ll be visiting soon. Why do you like to work in the energy field? Everyday, for everything, we all need electricity and behind electricity are energy sources like solar. That’s my drive, knowing that the work I do really does matter and affects us all. What would you tell other women and minorities about applying to top internships in the country? I would tell them...

UTSA Graduates Get the Gift of Education

Susana Hernandez knows the challenges immigrants face and has become an advocate for the bilingual community. This first-generation student is from Monterrey, Mexico and migrated to the United States with her family when she was 9-years-old. When Susana arrived in San Antonio, she said she would pass UTSA, hoping she could go there one day. “You feel very limited when you’re an immigrant and that you can’t have the same opportunities others have,” said Hernandez. That dream became a reality. Hernandez said because of the Dream Act she enrolled at UTSA in 2015. Nearly 16 years after arriving in the United States, Hernandez is getting an education degree and a certificate in bilingual education. “I didn’t know anything about college or the financial aid process, and neither did my parents, but I figured it out with support from UTSA Bicultural and Bilingual Studies faculty and Café College,” said Hernandez. Times were tough, Hernandez and her parents didn’t have a car and she worked multiple jobs while attending classes. “Most days I would get about three hours of sleep and then would wake up and repeat school and work all over again, but it was all worth it,” said Hernandez. Fall semester, Hernandez did her clinical teaching in a dual-language kindergarten classroom. She also tutors third graders. In addition, Hernandez was an active member of student organization called Bilingual Education Student Organization at UTSA. “While thinking back at the challenges I had to overcome, it’s been a difficult process to reach this point,” said Hernandez. “Migrating here was tough. I couldn’t see my grandparents or family for 15 years. My...

Alamo Colleges’ Mobile Go Center Celebrates 10 Years of Bringing College to the Community

Today at Brentwood Middle School (Edgewood ISD), the Alamo Colleges District joined Brentwood students and Edgewood ISD partners to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the district’s Mobile GO Cen-ter, an innovative one-stop enrollment center on wheels that brings information and access to college to local K-12 schools and com-munity organizations. The Mobile GO Center is a 43-foot, air-conditioned and heated, generator-operated trailer. Housed inside are 20 laptops and printers, with Wi-Fi access. The center is ADA compliant and has wheelchair lift capabilities. Over the past decade, more than 50,000 community members have benefitted from the services provided by the Mobile GO Center. “The anniversary of our Mobile GO Center is a cel-ebration of mobility and access,” said Alamo Col-leges District Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores. “The Mobile Go is one of the many solu-tions we have in place to increase awareness of opportunities at our colleges. It meets people where they are, and informs and edu-cates parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and students so that they are ready to take the first step on their path to higher education—the first step toward social and eco-nomic mobility,” he added. Joining Flores for the cel-ebration were Alamo Col-leges District Board Chair Marcelo Casillas, Edge-wood ISD Superintendent Dr. Eduardo Hernandez, Brentwood Principal Eva Reyna and Dr. Adelina Sil-va, Alamo College’s vice chancellor for student suc-cess, whose department op-erates the Mobile Go Center. The Mobile GO Center serves as an informational hub that provides person-alized assistance for stu-dents and their families. They can learn how to pre-pare for college, apply for admission and explore fi-nancial aid opportunities. Services provided include: ApplyTexas processing, AlamoENROLL module sessions,...

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