Students meeting virtually for Thoma-sponsored CNMI's UX/UI Deep Dive

Grants & Awards

January 2022 Education Grantee Updates

January 11, 2022

As we look to expand our education-related grant offerings in 2022, we are excited to share updates from a selection of current grantees in this category. 

Amarillo College

In October, Amarillo College won a $4.8 million Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Grant from the Department of Education. Portions of the grant will support the Earn and Learn program, which pairs students with local employers to help students gain valuable work-based learning experience prior to graduation or transfer. The Thoma Foundation’s $1 million grant will boost the reach of the Earn and Learn program, offering stipends to more students. Read the full press release here.

Asia Society Texas Center

A 2021 winner of the Thoma Foundation’s Digital Changemaker Grant, the Asia Society Texas Center’s ambitious goal to create an Online Learning Platform that offers an in-depth, immersive learning experience about Asia is well underway. Research has shown that K-12 educators have little content knowledge or training related to Asia; where limited curriculum resources exist, the information about Asia is often outdated, inaccurate, and harmful in reproducing stereotypes. Using a graphic novel format to inspire students to think deeply, reflect on their own experiences, and take action in their community, the ASTC is busy identifying artists and developing content.

Central New Mexico Community College Ingenuity

Students in the Thoma-sponsored CNM Ingenuity UX/UI Deep Dive have been divided into three groups, all working on different mobile applications. One group is making a campus safety application, another is making a digital literacy app designed for the Navajo Nation, and the third is making an application to help guide first time homeowners through their journey. Students are working through prototypes and will be sending their apps off for user testing and feedback while they finish their final graphical assets. We have three mentors that are available and generally have one in each group to provide personalized feedback and critique during each class. This allows students to ask immediate questions and run ideas by someone besides the instructor, who may be helping with technical issues, or next steps for the other groups.

This rural cohort of Deep Dive students have managed to take concept into reality and are surprising themselves with how much they know. The theoretical knowledge they gained earlier in the course is truly shining through as they create their applications with the user in mind.

rootEd Alliance

The 2020 data is in: despite double-digit declines in college enrollment for rural students nationally, rootEd Alliance’s supportive college access model has helped to maintain college enrollment levels among the schools and students they work with. A survey of more than one hundred 2019 high school graduates also found that college persistence rates is anywhere from 5 to 9 percentage points higher than the state averages where rootEd works. This early data demonstrates the importance of having strong advisors: more than one-fifth of recent graduates noted they would not be going to college without the help of their advisor.

Snow City Arts

For new partnerships in the works, 2021 Digital Changemaker Grantee Snow City Arts will adopt a unique hybrid model that blends both Virtual Learning and in-person workshops. On-site Teaching Artists will be available at the hospital two days per week to schedule students, facilitate technology use, and teach small-group Virtual Learning workshops combined with both live and virtual 1:1 workshops from within the hospital. Having a Teaching Artist on site will alleviate some of the communications and technology challenges common to virtual learning programs. Snow City Arts has also recently wrapped up a pilot program outside of their typical healthcare setting, offering music and poetry workshops with Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services.


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