HSI Bulletin - Winter 2014

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Winter 2014

Grantee Spotlight

Bergen Community College

Through its Title III, Part F (HSI STEM and Articulation) grant, Bergen Community College is challenging engineering students to think beyond building robots that can see, move, avoid obstacles, and maybe talk and even walk. Bergen STEM Student Union members (Peter Lehrer, Brian Giraldo, Faton Spata, Gaby Marani and Andriy Kovtun) accepted the challenge by insisting that their robots also fly! 

Starting in the Summer of 2013, and ongoing since, they have been active leaders of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, a.k.a. drone) Team of the STEM Student Union and have been busy building, programming, flying, crashing and re-building their first flying robot; a quadcopter.  These drones can be seen operating over the BCC campus.

One of the greatest areas for future growth of drone use is in precision agriculture. The STEM UAV Team has embarked on an ambitious long term agricultural project to develop an autonomous UAV scarecrow-like system to deter pests from small acreage farms.

The UAV Team’s system, called Scaredrone™, would make use of a computer vision system that would identify the type of pest and its coordinates on a one-acre farm and transmit the location to a drone waiting on a docking station.  Upon receiving instructions, the drone self-launches and humanely scares off the offending critter. Its mission accomplished, it returns back to the docking station and awaits its next set of coordinates.  The team is also learning CNC machining and 3D printing to create a swarm of mini drones that act as an autonomous flock to deter pests.

This ambitious development project will require many skills and new technologies to be developed by the UAV Team.

For more information about this grant, contact Dr. PJ Ricatto, Project Director, at pjricatto@bergen.edu.


University of Houston - Downtown

The MBA program at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), funded by a Title V, Part B (PPOHA) grant, launched a Professional Development Series (PDS). Through PDS, MBA students and invited guests participate in four annual professional development events to network with local community professionals and sharpen their business skills.  The series, which hosts executive speakers and workshops, allows MBA students and College of Business administrators to invite colleagues, supervisors, and guests to participate in a sampling of the UHD MBA program’s benefits with with current MBA students. 

With more than 100 MBA students and guests in attendance, the inaugural speaking event featured Laura Lopez, who shared her insights on “Developing Brand You.”  Laura's humor, insights and advice were acquired through 20 years' experience in professional roles, including corporate success as a senior executive at the Coca-Cola Company. She is a     sought-after speaker for many Fortune 100 companies and has been a guest on the Today Show and Fox News.

To drive home the objectives in Laura’s presentation, MBA students were tasked with creating an action plan detailing how they intend to develop, practice and evaluate their own “Brand You”. Craig D. Vershon, an MBA student, commented: “Laura Lopez helped me to realize that the foundation for my development as a business leader is to understand my ‘core brilliance.’ This starts by looking inward to self-evaluate and identifying what I do exceptionally well. This becomes the platform for describing myself and explaining my ‘core brilliance’ to others.”

Other executive speakers in the Series have included Steve Antry, CEO and chairman of the board, Eagle Energy Company of Oklahoma, LLC, and Larry Magee, president, Consumer Tire U.S. & Canada, for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.

For more information about this grant, contact Whitney Morgan, Project Director, at MorganW@uhd.edu.

Houston Downtown

Ralph Hines, Director of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division

From the Director

Happy New Year from the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Division!  We extend best wishes to all of our friends and colleagues as we embark on another grant year. While 2013 left an indelible imprint on all of us, we are nevertheless encouraged and excited about our prospects for 2014.  We are hard at work planning for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) grant competition.  While there are always budget uncertainties, we are moving forward with the necessary steps to prepare for this competition.  The DHSI is the only new grant competition planned for FY 2014. 

We want to remind you that in order to be eligible to submit an application in the DHSI program competition, you must submit an application and be designated as an eligible institution for FY 2014.   The notice soliciting applications for eligibility designation was published in the Federal Register on January 13th.  The deadline for transmittal of applications is March 7th.   In an effort to streamline our eligibility process, please note that there is now one deadline to apply for designation as an eligible institution and the non-Federal cost share waiver. 

In addition to preparing for the FY 2014 DHSI grant competition, we are also engaged in reviewing your Annual Performance Reports.  This review will enable us to award your FY 2014 Non-Competing Continuation grants for all HSI programs when funds become available.  If you have questions about this process, please contact your program officer.

If you are considering applying under the FY 2014 DHSI grant competition, please give serious considerations to proposing innovative approaches and initiatives that will expand and enhance your academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability.   As in recent years, college persistence and completion will continue to remain key issues of interest. 

Finally, we are looking forward to FY 2014 with renewed energy and commitment to working with you.  Please feel free to share your successes and let us know how we can better serve you.

Ralph Hines, Director 

Sarah Beaton

New HSI Division Team Members

Sarah Beaton

Sarah serves as Coordinator of the HSI STEM and Articulation program and Program Officer for 48 California HSI STEM and Articulation projects.  She also continues to serve as a Senior Program Manager for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).  Her responsibilities in FIPSE include the management of budget, priorities and contracts for all FIPSE programs and initiatives including designing and crafting priorities and guidelines to meet the President’s 2020 Graduation Goal.  Sarah is also the FIPSE Board liaison.  

Previously, she managed the Institute for International Education grant that created the successful International Academic Partnerships Program (IAPP).  She designed and managed the interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate student and faculty exchange programs between Brazil and the United States (U.S.-Brazil FIPSE/CAPES Program); the European Union and the United States (EU-U.S. Atlantis Program); and Canada, Mexico, and the United States (North American Mobility Program).  Sarah also served as Team Leader for the International Studies Team in the International Programs Division.  She was responsible for the overall direction of seven discretionary grant programs with an annual budget of over $30 million.  The programs are authorized under the Title VI of the Higher Education Act, as amended, and the Fulbright-Hays Act.  She led the International Studies Team in administering the grant programs, conducting national and international conferences and numerous research projects. She designed and implemented several international faculty development conferences with both US and foreign institutions of higher education.  

Her background includes the study of economics, liberal arts and business both at home and abroad.  She is an enthusiastic internationalist and uses her influence and talents to help develop sustainable and creative academic programs at universities and colleges throughout the United States.   

Email Sarah: Sarah.Beaton@ed.gov

Terrance Hilton

Terrance is the newest member of the HSI Division and will be serving as a Program Officer. Originally from New Jersey, he has lived in the Washington, D.C. metro area for four years. He holds a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in education from the University of Texas at El Paso (a current HSI grantee).  

Before joining the U.S. Department of Education, he served in the U.S. Army as a Communications Specialist and was Honorably Discharged in 2001.  He has professional experience at the local and federal government level, in addition to working in public education where he taught English and served as an Assistant Principal.

In his free time, Terrance enjoys watching movies with his children, reading, and participating in recreational activities. He's traveled across the country in support of his favorite New York teams: the Jets, Yankees, and Knicks.

Education is one of his passions and he considers himself to be a lifelong learner.  He is dedicated to serving the educational community and is excited about the opportunity to be a part of the U.S. Department of Education and the HSI team.

Email Terrance: terrance.hilton@ed.gov

Annual Performance Reports

You can now access the Annual Performance Report (APR) system.  The system will be open until January 21, 2014 and your reports must be submitted before this date. Remember that the APR is used by your Program Officer to determine whether you are making satisfactory progress.  If you have questions about the APR process, please contact your program officer.

FY 2014 Designation of Eligibility 

The Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division (HSI), in collaboration with the Strengthening Institutions Division (SID), will be offering informational webinars addressing the necessary procedures to follow when applying for Designation of Eligibility.

Webinars will be held on:

  • 1/21/14 at 10 AM EST.
  • 1/23/14 at 2 PM EST.
  • 1/28/14 at 10 AM EST.
  • 1/30/14 at 2 PM EST.
  • 2/4/14 at 10 AM EST.

Click here for more information.





Resource for HSI Grantees

With an innovative product-line, STEMconnector® works closely with corporations and other organizations to provide them with a set of tools and resources that support their corporate development, corporate structure and smart STEM investments.

STEMConnector:  With more than 5000 STEM stakeholders' profiles, its purpose is to map the STEM Education activity of organizations and all states. Organizational profiles are under major categories: Business, government, associations, diversity and women and education. Major subject areas are available and cross-referenced. Research is intensive as the profiles are updated and the site includes a searchable database. The STEMconnector® database has given the STEM community a giant resource and a tool to establish partnerships with a broad cross section of organizations working in STEM Education to increase connectivity in regions through working relationships. The site is a growing resource with subject areas added and updated regularly. STEMdaily®, STEM Results, STEM publications and a STEMconnector® Blog and social media are key features.

The HSI Division nor the Department endorse this service.  It is offered as a source for information only.


Reminder: Funding Sources

Remember that there there are other funding sources within the federal government that your institution may want to pursue.  Here are some examples with links to more information about the programs:

  1.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  2. National Science Foundation (NSF)
  3. U.S. Department of Energy
  4. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Funding opportunities are announced regularly through the Federal Register and Grants.gov

Want to include a success story in the next HSI Bulletin or have ideas for future articles? Email Jeff Hartman.