AEP Texas continues support of GeoFORCE program

Email this article 02/15/2012

AEP Texas continues to be a generous supporter of the GeoFORCE Texas Program which provides unique opportunities to budding young scientists across the region.

According to SWTJC Dean of Institutional Advancement and Technology Dr. Blaine Bennett, AEP Texas recently presented the program a $1,250 check, bringing the company's total contribution to $32,000 since 2007.

"Once again we thank AEP Texas and their manager of community affairs, Tony Arce, for their continued support of this program," Bennett said. "Through the generosity of AEP Texas and our other corporate sponsors, the future of GeoFORCE Texas is as bright as the young people it serves."

AEP Texas Manager of Community Affairs Tony Arce of Uvalde (right) presents a check to GeoFORCE Texas representative Doug Ratcliff, director of outreach programs at UT Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences. Also on hand for the check presentation was Dr. Blaine Bennett, SWTJC dean of institutional effectiveness and technology.

Each spring 40 eighth grade students who have shown proficiency in math and science are selected for the summer academy program from over 200 applicants in SWTJC's 11-county service area. Students selected for 2012 will be announced later this month.

At no cost to the participants, summer academy students commit to four summers of participation and visit sites of interest including the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake in Oregon, the gulf coast of Florida and the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters in Reston, VA.

An additional 40 students are selected each spring, from the applicant pool, to participate in Young Geoscientists. These students participate in three-day summer field studies through their junior year at sites across the state of Texas and New Mexico.

In addition, GeoFORCE also hosts SAT preparation classes and assists graduating seniors with financial aid and scholarship application assistance.

Corporate sponsors provide financial assistance to support the program's long-term goals of  increasing the number of students – especially minorities and femalse – who enter into the geosciences, as well as creating awareness of the importance of earth science in everyday life.

Total participation in GeoFORCE Texas, includes 320 from Southwest Texas and an additional 250 students from inner-city schools in Houston.

Of the 287 GeoForce students who have already graduated from high school, a total of 272 were enrolled in college in the fall of 2011. According to the program's 2011 annual report, 57% of GeoFORCE students are pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees.

For more information, visit the program's web site at 

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