Governor Abbott, TWC Award Over $970,000 In Governor’s Summer Merit Scholarships

April 20, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today awarded 12 grants totaling $979,640 to Texas universities and community colleges for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer youth camps through the Governor's Summer Merit Program. Administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), these funds will provide scholarships for more than 1,500 students ages 14 to 21 to attend STEM camps that will prepare them for advanced, high-demand jobs.

"Texas' many innovative, STEM-related industries are able to grow and thrive because of our skilled workforce," said Governor Abbott. "The Summer Merit Program prepares the next generation of Texans for highly skilled, good-paying careers in leading industries like engineering, mathematics, software development, energy, and more. Texas educates more than one in 10 of all public school students in the United States, and programs like this that promote STEM jobs provide life-changing educational experiences to those students. As our state works to meet the growing demands of a 21st century economy, I thank the Texas Workforce Commission and our educational partners for working to ensure the next generation helps keep Texas a global leader in science and technology."

"Texas leads the nation in tech job gains and employer job postings for high-tech careers," said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel. "TWC continues to invest in programs to provide hands-on, early learning for youth to meet the growing demand for STEM careers in Texas."

 “Texas has attracted more than 275 new corporate headquarters since 2015, continuing to cement our reputation as the best state to do business," said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. "Texas employers, large and small, will need a skilled workforce, now and in the future, to fill the many STEM-related jobs being created by top companies located and relocating in Texas."

"STEM careers are some of the best-paying, most in-demand jobs available to Texans," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Alberto Treviño III. "The camp scholarships give students across the Lone Star State a valuable educational experience and an edge in preparing for a career in the trade industries.”

The Governor's Summer Merit Program introduces young Texans to one or more of six focus industry clusters: advanced technologies and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, biotechnology and life sciences, information and computer technology, petroleum refining and chemical products, and energy. Several camps are designed to encourage young women and minorities to pursue further education and careers in STEM.

TWC projects Texas will add over 620,000 STEM occupations from 2020 to 2030. Of the 20 STEM occupations projected to add the most jobs, 17 require no more than a Bachelor’s degree, and 11 pay more than $100,000 a year for experienced employees.

The 12 grant recipients are:

• Tarrant County College, $68,075: 149 scholarships for experience in nursing, digital art, NFT (non-fungible tokens), Geographic Information Systems, geospatial engineering, environmental science, and all-inclusive STEM.
• Southern Methodist University, $98,447: 200 scholarships for camps based on the NASA Perseverance Mission to Mars. Each student cohort will form four teams: Drone Team, Rover Team, Rocket Team, and Landing Team, which will work with industry mentors to prepare for a simulated remote mission to Mars.
• The University of Texas at Austin, $100,000: 216 scholarships for multiple camps, including the UT Computer Science Academy for Women. The GeoFORCE Texas program takes students on geologic field trips. My Introduction to Engineering participants discover engineering through hands-on team projects. Women Engineers at The University of Texas camp provides the opportunity to explore engineering through hands-on projects.
• Lamar University, $99,997: 180 scholarships for both non-residential and residential camps with hands-on learning to familiarize students with TGS-Digital Inventions and TGS-Innovation CoLABoration, in computing/programming.
• St. Mary's University, $96,375: 168 scholarships in easy-to-use, popular software tools, applications, and programming languages, including Trimble, ArcGIS, QGIS, SolidWorks, MakerBot 3D printer, IDLE Python, DroneBlocks, RoboMaster, Visual Studio, AppInventor, Lego Spike Prime, MindStorm EV3, GameMaker, and ProModel.
• The University of Texas MD Anderson, $38,500: 50 scholarships for a middle school pilot program in oncology, exploring cancer biology through interactive programmatic career exploration lectures and seminars, participating in laboratory activities exposing students to oncologic and cancer prevention, basic science, translational, and clinical research.
• The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, $94,000: 150 scholarships for camps in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, biotechnology, and physics.
• Palo Alto College, $83,926: 120 scholarships to code using AutoAuto, Finch Robots 2.0 with micro:bits, Cubit, and other technologies to increase computer science and manufacturing engineering awareness and build coding confidence and skills in robotics programming.
• Stephen F. Austin State University, $100,000: 140 scholarships for project-based, hands-on learning activities. The camps will include fieldwork opportunities, industry-specific field trips, and STEM career-oriented events and activities.
• San Jacinto Community College District, $65,022: 120 scholarships at the camp to focus on mathematics and science related to engineering and STEM careers. It will feature relevant industry speakers, particularly during a STEM immersive day, plus a full-day field trip to Space Center Houston.
• Texas Woman's University, $36,400: 52 scholarship between two camps. CyberCamp educates students on cyber ethics and network security, culminating in a mock Cyber Defense competition. STEMM Camp is a new summer program for students to explore basic and medical science through hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory activities, and engaging real-world case studies.
• Houston Community College, $98,898: 200 scholarships with drone-building, virtual reality sessions, and Apple Swift Coding. The STEM curriculum will reflect employer-informed skills leading to high-demand career pathways.

Learn more about the Governor's Summer Merit Program.