Rooting for our Students in STEM

In every team and department at Northwest Vista College, there are always great stories to tell that show faculty and staff going above and beyond.

While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of.

Let us know about the positive things your area is doing to help students or improve processes by contacting myself or NVC Public Relations.

– Dr. Ric Baser, NVC President




Russell Frohardt, Ph.D.
NVC Dean for Academic Success

I love science and teaching! During my first years as dean at NVC, it was difficult to carve out time to dedicate to those two passions. Over the past year or so, I have had the fortune of representing our two AlamoINSTITUTES in the sciences (Science & Technology and Health & Biosciences) and began teaching one of the new courses in the recently approved Field of Study (FOS) in Psychology, Biological Psychology (PSYC 2330). Although the class is new to our college, it is something that I have been teaching for over 20 years and my students are the highlight of every week.

Teaching also allowed me to participate more fully in one of the many events that our scientists sponsor, Psychology Day. The incredible faculty involve their students, staff, clubs, and community partners in a day of demonstrations, collaborations, education, and awareness. I even got to sponsor a “color-your-brain” table, thanks to the persistent encouragement of Don Lucas and assistance from Anna Evans and our students. The 13thannual event was bigger than ever and featured the awarding of the Psychology Scholarships, the return of our own recent counselor, Mark Tovar, as a guest speaker, and many of our related community partners (e.g., Rape Crisis Center, San Antonio AIDS Foundation Van, Eating Recovery Center).

Psychology Day is just one of a host of incredible STEM-themed events that have taken place recently on campus. In the fourth week of October, our Natural and Physical Sciences department sponsored Sci-Tober, where students took part in science demonstrations and met with advisors and faculty over two days. Our Math and Engineering department, along with our tutoring staff, hosted the STEAM (STEM plus the arts) Blast with engineering demonstrations, panels, and the grand opening of our STEAM Makerspace in Mountain Laurel Hall. These are just a few examples of how our STEM faculty, staff, and students embrace experiential learning and enrich the educational path for our students who want to pursue STEM careers.

In a recent conversation with NVC leadership, we were discussing the noticeable increase in Associate of Science degrees that we have been awarding over the past several years. In 2015, we awarded 389 AS degrees with a jump to 894 in 2019, along with another 100 plus in Associate of Applied Science degrees annually.

With the incredibly talented faculty and staff that we have in the STEM fields, successful students going on to receive bachelor degrees (and beyond) and get high-demand, high-wage jobs, and new STEM facilities on the way at NVC (STEM building, science labs at WETC and the Northwest Education and Training Center in Boerne or NWETC) – it is a perfect time to sing our STEM praises and remind our community that we nurture the roots that allow our STEMs to grow and flourish.



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