15:36 PM

UST Receives $3 M Title V Grant to Expand Engineering Career Opportunities for Hispanic Students

engineering studentsUniversity of St. Thomas has received a five-year, $3 millon grant from the US Department of Education to develop and pilot a new engineering program offering Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Engineering. The Title V, Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Programs (DHSI) grant allows University of St. Thomas to expand its offerings and engineering career opportunities to Hispanic students.

“These funds will permit UST to develop and pilot a new engineering programs and will increase the number of Hispanic and underrepresented students completing engineering degrees in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering,” Dr. John Palasota, program director, said. “The program curriculum will be aligned to the standards of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.”

Grant Provides Engineering Student Support Services

This project will create an engineering student support program to provide face-to-face services to both native and transfer students.

Services will include:

  • The creation of two specialized mathematics classes designed to increase student retention, success and completion in engineering.
  • The project will provide student coaching, student advising, cultural diversity and coaching training for faculty members, peer mentors and peer tutoring.
  • A Junior/Senior Internship and Research Symposium will bring students together with industry internship supervisors and research cohorts for a professional symposium providing Title V participants with an additional real-world, workplace experience.

This Title V program will also upgrade labs and technology for engineering lessons and studies.

  • Lab and classroom renovations will be completed and a “smart classroom” will be created for engineering course delivery and lectures.
  • Students will receive support from peer mentors and tutors, positions included in project support services.
  • A total of 36 classroom-based courses will be created and piloted for the three engineering specialties.

Finally, an endowment component requiring a 1:1 match will create UST’s first engineering scholarship fund for Hispanic and low-income students.

Dr. John Palasota will serve as the program director and Dr. Birgit Mellis will serve as program manager. The program will be evaluated by Dr. Amaury Nora, a life-long researcher and expert evaluator in the field of Hispanics in higher education and STEM.


The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 70 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.