TAMU-CC is a Hispanic Serving Institute Serving Success to Students in the STEM Field


Junior Biomedical Science major Jonah Harris takes advantage of library resources to study for an upcoming exam. Photo by Jonathan Garcia

“Our goal is to have our Hispanic students who come to this university stay and graduate,” said Dr. Patricia Spaniol-Matthews of the Title V-STEM Operation Success (SOS) Program.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has been deemed a Hispanic Serving Institute and has a project that aids Hispanic students in need with the Title V-SOS program.

The project aims to help identify, recruit, and prepare eligible STEMstudents who are in high-need as stated on the STEM Operation Success’ page.

Two students studying for exam in the library.
Sophomores Aidan Clark, Business major, and Gunner Perez, Biomedical Science major, find some time to study for an upcoming exam. Photo by Jonathon Garcia

TAMU-CC is also known as a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), Matthews details that there is a certain criteria the university must meet to be deemed an MSI. 

“You have to have 50% of the population to be a minority,” Matthews said. “There is a high percentage of the students at this university who are the first generation in college.”

The project is divided into three components with the goal of recruiting high-need undergraduate students, including the first component Collegiate STEM Institute (CSI), which gives them a proven bridge concept for academic support and financial literacy boot camp.

“It has a summer bridge for Hispanic underserved undergraduate students,” Matthews said. “It runs a month, usually July, and is for STEM first-generation, low-income, underserved students.” 

Matthews also added that students could get into the program even if they aren’t Hispanic, as long as they meet the criteria of being a low-income undergraduate STEM student. But most of the students in the program are Hispanic, as mentioned by Matthews.

These services not only increase retention, but also help these students reach their future goals and various high-impact practices would be provided, including a sense of belonging, activities, and career development, as stated on the Operation Success page.

The second component offers a one day mini boot camp for Spanish-speaking STEM students and their families. The camp helps them increase their financial literacy, as well as with financial aid resources.

“That project is financial literacy, and is for Spanish-speaking parents,” Matthews said. “Staff goes out into the high schools, and does community events here on campus working with them on financial literacy.”

Matthews also added they could work from home with the I-GRAD financial literacy program to work on their financial literacy. The program also offers a  Spanish version for those who speak it fluently. 

The third component, which Matthews describes as an interesting one, is where they address embedding financial literacy into these courses including the I-GRAD program. 

“We pay faculty to put the I-GRAD financial literacy program into their courses,” Matthews said, “So students can learn financial education through the classroom.”

The nursing and the science department has utilized these services, and Matthews also mentions that the project gives students what they need, such as new microscopes, which range around $40,000, and also other electrical upgrades that are needed. 

When many think of STEM, many believe it involves engineering, but Matthews wants to make it clear that this program is more than just that,  it also applies to kinesiology, nursing, and health sciences. 

Having the goal for Hispanic students to graduate is an urgent one for Matthews, as it has been reported that not many Hispanic STEM students finish school due to unforeseen circumstances.

“Hispanic students have the highest dropout rate in STEM education,” Matthews said. “And they have a very low rate of faculty nationally, our goal is to inspire them to stay and graduate.”

Matthews also hopes that those that do graduate would come on board to join them as faculty and get their Ph.D. and diversify TAMU-CC or any campus that they choose to work at. 

For those looking for more information about how to join the title V-SOS program, or want to know more about these components, visit them at the Student Success Initiatives website under the Federal Programs tab, and click on STEM Operation Success for more details. 

About the Title V-SOS: