Texas A&M Engineering Partnership with El Centro College Expanding to Include Richland College

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College is expanding to become the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College and Richland College.

Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies are innovative co-enrollment partnerships developed to address the state’s growing need for engineers. Qualified students will be admitted to the Texas A&M University College of Engineering, complete the first two years of coursework at El Centro or Richland and finish their engineering degrees in College Station. All A&M engineering classes for students enrolled in this academy will take place on the campus of El Centro College in downtown Dallas.

“We are excited about offering our unique pathway to an Aggie engineering degree to even more Dallas-area students by expanding the Engineering Academy at El Centro to include Richland,” said Dr. Cindy Lawley, Texas A&M Engineering assistant vice chancellor for academic and outreach programs. “The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy program is the only engineering transition program of its kind in the United States, and students admitted to this academy are part of the Texas A&M College of Engineering from day one.“

Richland College president Dr. Kathryn K. Eggleston said the partnership strengthens an already strong engineering transfer program.

“This partnership expands Richland College’s strong transfer engineering focus by offering greater accessibility and a structured pathway to a bachelor’s degree with guaranteed admission to tier-one Texas A&M University,” she said. “We are grateful for the support of Chevron toward this important student success initiative.”

The expanded academy is one of five Texas A&M-Chevron Academies across Texas. Texas A&M-Chevron Academies at Austin Community College, Houston Community College and Texas Southmost College in Brownsville are currently accepting student applications, and Alamo Colleges in San Antonio will begin in fall 2018. Texas A&M also has successful engineering academies at the Blinn College campuses in Brenham and Bryan.

“Chevron is excited to be able to continue our longstanding relationship with Texas A&M through support of the engineering academy initiative, which will help provide opportunities in the field of engineering for many underrepresented and first-generation college students,” said Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron vice president of diversity, ombuds and university partnerships. “Partnering with Texas A&M, a top source of engineering hires for Chevron, to help provide opportunities in the field of engineering will support our efforts to help build the diverse workforce of tomorrow that will be required to meet the energy needs of the future.”

A 2012 report by the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology projected that 1 million more STEM degrees would be needed in the next decade. In Texas alone, the projected need for engineers in the workforce is 62,000 by 2022. To meet this need, universities and two-year colleges will need to work together to bridge the gap, and attract and retain students who are interested in STEM fields.

“Successfully transitioning from a two-year to four-year institution can be a daunting experience for students,” said Dr. Greg Morris, vice president of academic affairs at El Centro College. “This academy eliminates that barrier for our students—increasing their likelihood of completing a four-year engineering degree.

“The need for innovative STEM pathways that lead to high-paying engineering careers is vital to the Texas economy. The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College and Richland College blends accessibility with academic rigor and helps chart a path toward student success in the fields of engineering, Morris said.”

By enrolling in the academies, students can save up to $15,600 in tuition and fees over two years while still being taught by Texas A&M faculty on the El Centro campus.

“El Centro and Richland students admitted to the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy can take their freshman and sophomore engineering classes right here in downtown Dallas, and the classes are taught 100 percent by Texas A&M faculty. It’s a win-win for our students,” said Morris.

The partnership with El Centro College began admitting students in 2016, and several of the students in the program are looking forward to attending the Texas A&M campus in College Station. Luis Gonzales, one of the academy students who was also recently selected as one of NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars, is the first member of his family to go to college.

“I chose to apply for the engineering academy because it was an affordable option for me and my family,” he said. “I was accepted into the engineering program at Texas A&M in College Station and at other big universities, but I chose to go with the more affordable option.”

(Release courtesy of Texas A&M University Engineering)