| Program: || Proyecto Access, NASA-HACU, Washington, D.C. |
| Contact(s): || Millie Mateu, NASA University Program Manager: (202) 358-0954 |
| Purpose: || To broaden the scope of the Hispanic community's participation in NASA's educational programs |
NASA initiated Proyecto Access in 1997 with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to broaden its outreach to Hispanics and Hispanic organizations involved with NASA's educational programs. Proyecto Access prepares middle and high school Hispanic students for advanced studies and careers in mathematics, science and engineering. Proyecto Access has replicated the Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) founded by Manuel P. Berriozábal, professor of mathematics at the University of Texas, San Antonio. PREP has been replicated as TexPREP in 13 Texas cities. NASA awarded a $1 million NASA grant in 1997 to HACU to replicate PREP as Proyecto Access in eight other locations: New Mexico State University in Las Cruces; Los Angeles City College; Pima Community College in Tucson; Richard Daley Community College in Chicago; Hostos Community College in the Bronx, New York City; Jersey City State University in New Jersey; Florida International University in Miami; and the Community College of Denver.
Each program site serves a high concentration of minority students who traditionally lag behind in mathematics and the sciences. Proyecto Access offers middle school students academic enrichment and motivational activities. These activities include a variety of seminars: logic and application to math; algebraic structures; probability and statistics; introduction to engineering; introduction to computer science; introduction to physics; technical writing; problem solving; research; and career awareness. Each summer, participants work in an eight-week intensive curriculum of math and sciences at their participating school.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
PREP received a 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. More than 6,500 students have completed the San Antonio PREP since its inception in 1979. A 1996 survey of PREP participants showed that 99 percent of respondents finished high school following their PREP experience. Ninety-one percent entered college, with 87 percent of those earning bachelor's degrees. Fifty-four percent of the college graduates majored in sciences or engineering. In the last 10 years, San Antonio PREP and TexPREP have been recognized 18 times for their accomplishments. In its first year, the NASA-HACU Proyecto Access saw 349 students complete the program, including two Native Americans, 44 whites, 48 blacks, and 219 Hispanics.