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College of Science, Mathematics and Technology and SEI Program honored as America’s top programs for increasing Latino student success in college
 
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS - OCTOBER 1, 2013- Two programs at The University of Texas at Brownsville have been selected as national finalists for the 2013 Examples of Excelencia recognition. 
 
The College of Science, Mathematics and Technology (CSMT) and the Student Employment Initiative Program (SEI) were selected from among 165 competitors from 22 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as America’s top programs for increasing achievement for Latino students.
 
 “The spirit of innovation has long been a part of the UT Brownsville campus culture. Our faculty and staff are relentless in seeking ways to improve student success through initiatives that have regional relevance and the potential for global impact,” said Dr. Juliet V. Garcia, President. 
Senior Alex Huerta, 21, has worked in Career Services for 1 year under the SEI program.
 
Conceived and run by Excelencia in Education, this is the only national initiative to  systematically identify, recognize and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino college success.  Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the country will joined Excelencia in Education at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, D.C.,this evening to honor these programs.
 
Excelencia in Education honored the entire CSMT, including the UTeach program that trains mathematics and science majors with strong academic backgrounds to enhance classroom instruction in the public schools.
 
“We have outstanding students in the Lower Rio Grande Valley who are being taught by a world class faculty,” said Dr. Mikhail Bouniaev Dean of the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology. “Even as undergraduates these students have already started their research agendas with our faculty and have achieved some publishable results which have been presented at both national and international meetings.” 
 
Since 2008, bachelor’s degrees have increased 59 percent while master’s degrees have increased 57 percent.  Last year two programs in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology, the Department of Computer and Information Sciences and the Mathematics and Science Academy were named as national finalists for the 2012 Examples of Excelencia recognition.
 
The SEI Program in the Division of Student Affairs incorporates rigorous academic expectations, matches students with on-campus employment opportunities where they can grow as professionals and gain early exposure to a career in their field of interest, encouraging students to maintain momentum toward timely degree completion. Since the program began in fall 2005 a total of 839 students have participated in SEI internships.
 
“We have found that this program is having a positive impact on the student's academic experience, timely graduation, career readiness, skills development, in addition to assisting participants to earn money to cover their educational and personal expenses while attending UTB,” said Ana B. Perez, Student Placement Specialist.
 
Today’s announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2013 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 22 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success.  Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to grow America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and others tap into to accelerate degree completion among Latinos.
 
This is the eighth annual release of Examples of Excelencia. Excelencia in Education has systematically reviewed more than 500 programs to identify and recognize over 100 programs and departments that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation.
 
“As one of this year’s National Finalists, The University of Texas at Brownville is at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “No longer should policymakers and institutional leaders ask how to improve college success for Latinos – we have the largest accumulation of proven examples and tested strategies that show them how.  Today’s question is do leaders have the will to put these practices into action.”
 
To download “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” which includes detailed information about all of the programs recognized today, visit EdExcelencia.org.
 
“This compendium is a central component of the Examples of Excelencia initiative,” said Deborah Santiago, vice president of Excelencia in Education and author of the publication.  “By sharing what works, we hope to prompt educators and policymakers to challenge the current status of Latino achievement in higher education and inspire these decision makers to work to increase Latino student success.”
 
Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation.  The 2013 sponsors are ACT, Southwest Airlines, TG, USA Funds, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, EduK, Univision Communications, College Board, Inceptia and New Futuro.
 
Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.
 

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