The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Summer news roundup

Texas A&M-University San Antonio’s Main Campus Building was completed in 2011 and will soon be joined by two new buildings, Central Academic Building and the Patriots’ Casa. Photo by Abby Vega


New STEM Scholarship
Texas A&M-San Antonio and the Texas A&M-San Antonio Foundation partnered with Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. (TMMTX) to announce a new scholarship to support the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The first recipient of this prestigious scholarship, Katie Drzymala of East Central High School in the East Central Independent School District, was presented with a check for $25,000 on June 19, based on her intentions to become a math teacher and her outstanding application. Katie will enroll in Palo Alto College, one of the Alamo Colleges, in the Fall 2012 semester and commit to attending A&M-San Antonio to complete her teaching degree in a STEM area.


Water Conservation and Technology Center
Texas A&M-San Antonio and the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) are two members of the Texas A&M University System teaming up to bring world-class professional training opportunities in safety and health, and water management to South San Antonio. A&M-San Antonio is moving ahead with a Water Conservation and Technology Center in partnership with Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Engineering Experiment Station. The center will bring a focus on applied research to high priority water issues in Texas.

The agency will be led by Dr. Calvin Finch, who has worked in Texas water conservation efforts for 22 years, most recently as director of regional initiatives and special programs, director of water resources and director of conservation for the San Antonio Water System. He was responsible for obtaining the water resources necessary for meeting the water needs of San Antonio, a community of 1.2 million people growing at the rate of 3 percent per year.


Head Start Program
Texas A&M-San Antonio’s Summer I session provided a service in collaboration with the City of San Antonio: 10 teachers in the Head Start program are studying to become “highly qualified” Early Childhood instructors, as defined by Federal guidelines. The Head Start Institute is new to A&M-San Antonio, and professor Dr. Debbie Vera, who leads the program alongside Dr. Vivien Geneser, reports that it’s a success. Read more here.


Business Pre-Requisities
Alamo Colleges will offer business prerequisite classes at the Brooks City-Base Campus for Fall 2012. Northwest Vista, San Antonio College, St. Philip’s, and Palo Alto College will each be offering one of the required business prerequisite classes on Saturdays in fall 2012. Speak to an adviser to find out more. For more information, contact Cynthia Kinney-Lee at
or call 210-784-2301


University Police Department
The Texas A&M-San Antonio University Police Department is looking for volunteers to join the new Volunteers in Police Service (V.I.P.S.) program, which intends to create a stronger bond between A&M-San Antonio UPD and the University community. This is accomplished by allowing civilian volunteers to support sworn police officers by participating in approved law enforcement work. The program benefits the volunteers by allowing them the opportunity to give back to their community by providing a valuable service in enhancing safety and security on the campuses. Volunteer activities include but are not limited to: parking patrol, clerical/dispatching duties and assisting with communications. Applicants must be 19 years of age or older, complete the application and pass a criminal background check. To apply, contact Lt. Daniel Barrera at 210-784-1902.


New ITS Resource: Self-Serve Password Reset tool
Before you have trouble with your campus computing password, visit the TAMU-SA Self-Serve Password Reset website and register. By registering now, you will be able to change your password yourself whenever you have trouble logging in allows you to reset the password you use to log in on university computers, university wireless networks. For questions, please contact the ITS Helpdesk via email at, by phone at 210-784-HELP (4357), or in person at Room 144 of Brooks City-Base Campus and Room 307 of Main Campus. You can also visit our Helpdesk website and submit your request:


Employee Assistance Program Offers Wide Variety of Services through Deer Oaks
Available to all employees and their dependents, Deer Oaks offers services to locate childcare and elderly services, fitness and nutrition management, work/life services, parenting tools, legal and financial services, as well as dealing with work related issues. All calls and visits are free and confidential for Texas A&M-San Antonio employees. Contacting Deer Oaks is as simple as dialing 866-EAP-2400 or visiting them on the web at The user id/password: TAMUSA. For questions, call Tarik Esquerra, manager of Employee Relations and Benefits at 210-784-2053.


Personnel Moves
New Hires:

Shannon Bowen, Applications Director
Rene Castillo, Administrative Assistant III
Courtney Garza, Case Manager/Exam Services Coordinator
Jesse Garza, Coordinator of Field-Base Placements
Ranett Metz, Police Communications Officer I
Bryant Moore, Library Specialist II
Laura Sanchez, Accounting Assistant
Kristopher Scheneman, Transfer Adviser


Laura Pantano, who held the position of assistant vice president for Student Engagement & Success, resigned in June and has relocated to New Hampshire where she began the position of  Dean of Student Engagement at New England College  July 2. The New England College Community Connections Newsletter published a welcome announcement (page 4) and brief profile of Pantano in their summer issue.


Administrative Changes
University President Maria Hernandez Ferrier sent an email to faculty/staff July 18 announcing a major personnel move: “Effective immediately, Mr. Kenneth Mitts, CFO and vice president of finance and administration, will also serve as interim vice president of student affairs.” This position was previously held by Dr. Mary Ann Grams. The email made no reference to the terms of Grams’ employment at the University. A university communications representative said a university cabinet meeting met July 19 to discuss the personnel change.

Note: With the exception of the above information on resignations, this information in this post was compiled by University Communications in its summer edition of the Jaguar Chronicle which provides up-to-date and relevant information to the campus community through its quarterly issues.

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