Education Notes

Betty Dillard

UT Arlington doctoral students receive nearly $1 million NSF grant A new National Science Foundation grant will support a dozen University of Texas at Arlington doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM fields, with free tuition and a $30,000 yearly stipend for two years.

The $974,250 in funding for UTA’s Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships comes from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at the NSF. Stokes played a major role in the quest for civil rights, equality, and social and economic justice throughout his tenure in the U.S. Congress. UT Arlington has been a part of the University of Texas System LSAMP since 1993, collaborating with the lead institution University of Texas at El Paso and other UT campuses. The goal is to increase the quantity and quality of degree recipients in STEM fields, especially among women and minorities.

UNTHSC shares grant to diversify biomedical workforce UNT Health Science Center – along with Boston College, University of Wisconsin, Morehouse School of Medicine and University of Minnesota – will share a five-year, $19.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to form the National Research Mentoring Network. The goal is to encourage researchers from underrepresented minority backgrounds to start and stay in biomedical careers. UNTHSC will take a lead role in the project, according to Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Ph.D. — photo — special assistant to the provost for diversity and international programs. Vishwanatha will head the project’s networking and mentorship core, which is responsible for developing a Web portal and recruiting a diverse group of mentees and mentors. Harlan Jones, Ph.D., — photo – director of the Center for Diversity and International Programs at UNTHSC, will serve as associate director of the network’s professional development core, along with Vishwanatha.

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Texas Wesleyan receives financial literacy funding Texas Wesleyan University is one of 21 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a “Financial Literacy Counts” grant from Higher One. Higher One provides financial services and data analytics to more than 1,900 colleges and university campuses. Texas Wesleyan kicked off Financial Literacy Month on Nov. 4 with free games and a lunch for students. Throughout the month, more than 20 financial literacy games and workshops will be offered for students and employees. Financial Literacy Month is sponsored by Higher One, OmniAmerican Bank, the Student Government Association, Consumer Credit Counseling of Great Dallas, Family Pathfinders of Tarrant County and several administrative offices at Texas Wesleyan. For information about events visit

Southwest Christian art students publish book Fine arts students at Fort Worth’s Southwest Christian School under the direction of visual arts teacher and coordinator, Staci Danford, have published a museum-style exhibition catalogue highlighting the award-winning works of SCS students from the 2013-2014 school year. The book, Building a New Box, is available through and is the first of its kind from a high school scholastic setting. Publications of this type are usually associated with major art museums throughout the world. The 178-page publication features the assembled works of classes taught by SCS art instructors Kimberlea Bass, Nancy Posey and Danford. It chronicles the students’ creativity in painting, drawing, sculpture, mosaic construction, fashion design, photography and exhibit building. “At a time when schools are cutting their fine arts programs, SCS continues to realize the importance and impact. The arts provide essential 21st-century skills for students by fostering imagination, teamwork and creative problems, along with deepening appreciation of cultural differences and commonalities,” said Penny Armstrong, president and headmaster for Southwest Christian School. SCS developed its museum-style art program in 2006 with the introduction of the White Box Gallery, which is one of very few high school art galleries in existence. SCS’s Fine Arts Department displays three to four student art exhibits in the gallery each year.

UNTHSC to lead Fort Worth fight against infant mortality A five-year, $3.5 million Healthy Start grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration puts UNT Health Science Center at the forefront of an effort to combat Fort Worth’s high infant mortality rates. The national rate is about six deaths per 1,000 live births, but in parts of Tarrant County, the infant mortality rate is around 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The funding will allow the university to implement a national model that’s designed to improve women’s health before, during and after pregnancy and support families in caring for their infants through the first two years of life. “After more than a decade of raising awareness, developing partnerships and building trust, the time is right to make a noticeable change in Tarrant County for our most vulnerable women, infants and children,” said Amy Raines-Milenkov, — photo — assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chairman of the Tarrant County Infant Health Network. The UNTHSC team is made up of a program manager, five caseworkers, a health education coordinator and two community health workers. They will make in-home visits to at least 500 at-risk women a year, half of whom must be pregnant.

A&M advocacy team advances to nationals A team from Texas A&M School of Law Advocacy Program won the Region 8 rounds of the ABA Negotiation Competition in Norman, Okla., Nov. 1-2. The team of 3L Mark Lister and 2L Bill Forbes – photo — will now advance to the national finals, which will be in Houston in February. Schools from Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah compete in the regional. The team was coached by Chris Watts (’00), who also serves as the mayor of Denton, and adjunct professor Kay Elliott.

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UT Arlington geology student wins national honor UT Arlington senior Troy Barber – photo — took home a Best Paper Award during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in October for his study of pore structure and fluid movement in rock formations. The Geological Society’s Division of Coal Geology gave the award. Barber, an earth and environmental sciences major, joined the research group of UT Arlington Associate Professor Qinhong “Max” Hu in 2013. Barber’s winning paper was called, “Applying Vacuum Saturation to Study the Pore Structure of Tight Shales.” Barber said the honor would not have been possible without Hu’s “excellent support of undergraduate participation in his research.” “Such an achievement at a national conference is evidence of the high student quality we have at UT Arlington and faculty’s dedication to education and providing opportunities for students to excel,” Hu said.