Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Announces New National Science Foundation, Minority Science Engineering Improvement Program Grants Awarded to TAMIU

Totaling over $1.1 million, the grants will purchase a new laser scanning confocal microscope and create a program targeting increasing TAMIU Engineering majors through recruitment and retention

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LAREDO, Texas, September 20, 2017 | Rafael Benavides (956-725-0639) | comments

Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today announced the awarding of two grants supporting research and engineering outreach and retention with a combined value of $1,101,950 to Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).

The first is a National Science Foundation Grant totaling $398,112 to acquire a new laser scanning confocal microscope. A confocal microscope is an essential tool for studying cell and gene function in animals, plants, and microorganisms, as well as in material sciences. By securing this prestigious grant, Congressman Cuellar is confident that the new microscope will improve the quality and expand the scope of the research, training, and, educational activities in many diverse scientific disciplines including biology, chemistry, and engineering.

The second award comes from the U.S. Department of Education, Minority Science Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) and provides a $703,838 over an anticipated three-year grant period. It is focused on engineering majors, their recruitment, and retention and targets increasing engineering majors by 20 percent for each year of the program. It also looks to achieve an 85% retention rate for project participants and to increase the five-year graduation rate for engineering majors. Congressman Cuellar is confident it will do so through cost-effective outreach and retention activities, student mentoring and faculty professional development.

“Texas A&M International University is already one of the finest research institutions in the United States. I am confident that these awarded grants will help serve the purpose of contributing to and enhancing the growth and quality of TAMIU’s Science and Engineering programs,” said Congressman Cuellar, “I am also very pleased to hear about the new initiative to increase the number of minority students entering engineering and science programs. I thank President Dr. Pablo Arenaz for his assistance in securing these noteworthy endowments.”

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the grants help to advance the University’s research profile and recruitment of engineering and science students.

“We greatly appreciate Cong. Cuellar’s leadership in helping us to realize these grants. Individually and combined, they will accelerate the University’s continued growth as a research-oriented institution, providing distinct, high-quality student experiences, and advance our initiatives to dramatically increase the number of minority students entering engineering and science majors at TAMIU,” Dr. Arenaz said.


Congressman Cuellar (TX-28) presents a check for two federal grants totaling $1,101,950 to Texas A&M International University Wednesday. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Kameron Jorgensen, Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, Dr. Mahmoud Khasawneh, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Dr. Deepak Ganta, Dr. Sang Chul-Nam, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, Dr. Tom Mitchell, Dr. John Kilburn and Dr. Claudia San Miguel.



The NSF supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides a foundation for economic growth. It hopes that by advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, the United States can develop the knowledge and cutting-edge technologies needed to address the challenges of today and the future.

The MSEIP, part of the U.S. Department of Education, assists predominantly minority institutions in effecting long-range improvement in science and engineering education programs to increase the flow of under-represented ethnic minorities, especially minority women, into science and engineering careers.




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Tags: Education