15:05 PM

UST Receives $3 Million Grant to Promote Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans

University of St. Thomas Houston has received a five-year, $3 million grant through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Promoting Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program from the U.S. Department of Education. UST will develop and pilot a new, industry-approved master’s program, a Master of Science in Industrial and Process Chemistry, offered online or classroom-based.

UST Partners with UHD to Create STEM Scholars Pipeline

Dr. John Palasota will serve as the project Director for this grant program titled, “UST Houston Pipelines and Pathways Project.” 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. As part of a collaboration with University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), UST will create a pipeline from UHD’s STEM Scholars undergraduate program to the MS degree plan in Industrial and Process Chemistry. UHD partner Dr. Mary Jo Parker, director of the UHD STEM Scholars Academy will serve as the Graduation to Graduate School Guide with support and counseling to graduates coming from UHD to the UST PPOHA program.

External Advisory Board of Industry Professionals Offer Guidance

An external advisory board consisting of professionals in the chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas industries will collaborate on the program’s development and the program curriculum will be submitted for accreditation by the National Professional Science Master’s Association. UST faculty will align the needs of business and industry with the training and curricular needs of students that will enter a variety of STEM career options.

PPOHA Program

“We are deeply honored to receive this PPOHA grant,” Dr. Palasota said. “UST received a PPOHA grant in 2009 to develop our Graduate School of Education courses, and since that time more than 15,000 students have completed those courses. We are sure that this graduate program in Industrial and Process Chemistry will have a similar long and successful impact on the UST campus and our student body.”

The U.S. Department of Education PPOHA Program provides grants to:

  1. expand post baccalaureate educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic students;
  2.  expand the post baccalaureate academic offerings as well as enhance the program quality in the institutions of higher education that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students and helping large numbers of Hispanic and low-income students complete postsecondary degrees.

This year’s award recipients were the University of St. Thomas and the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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.