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Yanez, Urrea Get National Recognition for Developing Retention Plan

Thursday, January 23, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

Yanez, UrreaTexas State Technical College's Director of Support Services Edda Urrea and Engineering Division Director Hector Yanez were recognized by the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science for developing a retention plan aimed at recruiting and keeping female students in TSTC's Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics (ADEG) Program, a male-dominated career track.

The Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Retention Plan was designed as part of the 2013 National Science Foundation-funded WomenTech Educators Training hosted by the GeoTech Center and was chosen as one of the top three plans for the training.

As part of the retention plan, students will be paired in classroom projects and female tutors will be sought to staff computer labs.

"The focus was on increasing and retaining the number of females in the (ADEG) program," said Urrea, also the Title IX Coordinator. "One of the components we're plugging in is incorporating a humanitarian concept."

Yanez said doing more projects involving the community were part of the retention plan to recruit and keep the female students.

"We started doing more projects involving small municipalities and non-profit organizations," Yanez said.

The retention plan will also be featured in other private online learning communities connected with WomenTech Educators Trainings where other educators can imitate or develop similar plans.

In the last two years, the ADEG Program has seen as considerable increase in female students. In 2011, the program was made up of 11 percent female students. In 2013, that number increased to 32 percent.

Both credited Equity Advocate Counselor Anna Cortez for having input in the retention plan and the increase in students in non-traditional programs.

Urrea and Yanez's retention plan can be used for other programs in the college as well.

"We've seen a big push and increased numbers in those non-traditional programs in the past couple of years," Yanez said.

Urrea and Yanez's successful retention plan will be featured on the training's private online learning community.

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