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Tesoro Foundation supports engineering programme for San Antonio students

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The San Antonio based Tesoro Foundation has made a two year, US$200 000 grant to the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP), according to a joint announcement by Tesoro Corporation and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The grant will support PREP to provide services to 1500 students in the San Antonio area each year.

PREP, a seven week programme offered over four summer sessions, stresses the development of abstract reasoning skills, problem solving skills and their application. It also provides college bound youth with mentors and a daily career awareness seminar featuring local professionals from various STEM fields. Students attending PREP on a college campus learn about higher education and the opportunities that it affords. The curriculum includes mathematics, problem solving, engineering, physics, technical writing, water science, nanotechnology, cybersecurity and computer science. In addition to gaining a jumpstart on advanced topics in the hard sciences and mathematics, PREP students have the opportunity to earn high school credit and college scholarships.

The Tesoro Foundation’s support will help PREP with the costs associated with instructional materials, supplies, faculty, certified counselors and programme mentors. Additionally, the two year award will enable recruitment and outreach efforts to raise awareness of PREP among parents, teachers and students.

“It takes a great deal of support from strong partners to sustain a programme like PREP,” said Rudy Reyna, Executive Director of PREP. “This grant from the Tesoro Foundation will have a direct impact on our ability to recruit, teach and prepare highly talented middle school and high school students for careers in STEM fields, especially students who have been traditionally underrepresented in these areas.”

“Tesoro’s success relies on our ability to recruit and retain employees with exceptional STEM related skills,” said Jared T. Skok, Executive Director of the Tesoro Foundation. “We are proud to support PREP and its efforts to provide high quality STEM programmes for our San Antonio youth.”

“We are grateful for the Tesoro Foundation’s interest in and support of PREP,” added Reyna. “Because of this grant, some really talented teens will have the opportunity to participate in a top tier STEM programme this summer and leave prepared to take their education to yet another level.”

Manuel Berriozabal established PREP at UTSA in 1979. Since that time, the PREP model has been replicated across Texas, with programmes from Dallas to the Rio Grande Valley, and in five additional states: New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah and California. In San Antonio alone, PREP has educated nearly 17 000 middle and high school students since its inception.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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