Engineering and computer science professions attract fewer women than other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields in the United States. For more than a decade, professors at the UH Cullen College of Engineering have worked to change this longstanding tradition by hosting summer engineering camps strictly for girls.
In 2012, one person in the United States died by suicide every 12.9 minutes. In college terms, that means in the span of just one 50-minute class, at least three people in this country took their own lives. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.
Kathy Zerda recently retired from her position at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, but the former PROMES director is still making a difference in her community through her work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
The University of Houston was awarded a $3.29 million grant over five years from the National Science Foundation (NSF)ADVANCE to increase the number and success of women faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
In 2006, just months after stepping into her new role as PROMES Director, Kathy Zerda led her first STEP Forward camp at the University of Houston. Over the course of the week, she watched her campers form friendships through team building exercises and field trips, and she found herself bonding with them as well.
In recent years, the Gulf Coast region has been tremendously affected by the landfall of large hurricanes. In 2005, Category 3 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and in 2008, Hurricane Ike (a Category 2 storm) came ashore over Galveston and wreaked havoc in the Houston area, knocking out power to many customers in the greater Houston metro area for several weeks.
One little known fact about the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering’s PROMES program (Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies) is that the program’s year-to-year funding has relied largely on the generous donations of corporate sponsors and Cullen College alumni.