Thank you for considering investing in the Department of Physics and Geology at The University of Texas - Pan American. Your investment dollar helps to inspire, attract, and retain youth interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) here in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley region. To continue the on-line investment process, a process that my family and I verified, please click on the button at the top of the screen; otherwise, as Chair of the Department of Physics and Geology, I would like to tell you about how your investment helps STEM in our community.
Currently, we are asking investors to contribute to our 45COSE003 planetarium account. This account is an unrestricted account that provides the Chair with flexibility to operate the UTPA Planetarium and Portable Planetarium and provide outreach to the community that is inspiring, attracting and retaining youth interest in STEM at an average cost of less than two dollars per visitor. Simultaneously, those same investment dollars are used to support Planetarium Assistants within our department to reduce their cost of higher education. That's right, your investment dollar actually helps educate our community while simultaneously helping to defray the educational cost of Planetarium Assistants. Through the your investment, our Planetarium Assistants, who have a strong background in Astronomy and have been specially trained by our Astronomy faculties, improve their educational experiences while gaining confidence through improving their communication skills, including speaking and teaching experience, by providing interactive planetarium showings to youth within our community. These Planetarium Assistants are a key to the success of planetarium outreach because they serve as role models for youth and have increased youth participation due to peer-near-peer interactions. We also coordinate the UTPA Planetarium experience, which can provide interactive visualization in a wide variety of disciplines not just Astronomy, with teachers to support lesson plans including supporting transfer of knowledge through a memorable visualization experience where youth learn materials pertaining to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). Therefore, think of your investment dollar as being a multiplier, supporting the education of our youth through planetarium outreach, including TEKS and STAAR, while simultaneously supporting planetarium assistants within the department. That's right, we stretch your investment dollar a long way in support of our future through the youth of today.
Steven C. Tidrow, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Physics and Geology
University of Texas – Pan American