The David and Lucille Packard Foundation has awarded a grant of $200,000 to support the hiring of a department chair for National Hispanic University's Department of Mathematics and Science. In response, the University has hired Dr. Yazmin Rosa-Bauza, an organic chemist with a Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation focused on the development of chemical tools to monitor the activity of cancer-related proteases.
The fledgling department began to function in 2005, and was designed to prepare students to transfer as juniors into the engineering program at San Jose State University, which is located near NHU and with which NHU often partners on projects to increase the number of Hispanic students who successfully complete undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering, mathematics and the sciences. Because the engineering preparatory curriculum emphasizes physics, chemistry, and mathematics in addition to fundamental courses in engineering, the NHU program also gives students the option to pursue a major in one of these three areas or to move toward earning a teaching credential in mathematics or science.
The Packard Foundation, together with Hewlett-Packard and the Hewlett Foundation have supported the educational efforts of NHU in a variety of ways. Dr. David Lopez, NHU President has noted that "HP, the Packard Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation have shown that they understand the significance of NHU's educational mission to the State and the nation, and they have given accordingly and consistently over time." When NHU opened its new main building in 2005, HP donated furniture and artwork. The university is currently taking part in HP supported research to determine how best to use electronic tablet computing technology and the Internet to improve teaching and learning.
Upon accepting her appointment as chair, Dr. Rosa-Bauza reflected that, "After receiving my undergraduate degree in my native Puerto Rico, I came to California to pursue graduate study. I was shocked by the barriers Hispanic students face to earning degrees in the sciences and resolved to do what I could to help the students overcome those barriers. The Packard Foundation has given me the opportunity to pursue my two passions - science and educational equity."
The National Hispanic University is a 4-year, private, nonprofit university accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It has been authorized to grant degrees since 1981. NHU offers degrees in Liberal Studies, Business, Mathematics and Science, and Computer Science, as well as teacher credentialing and certificates in Translation & Interpretation. For more information on NHU, please log onto www.nhu.edu or contact Patricia Estrada at (408) 273-2737.