The Mathematics and Science Academy (MSA) program at UTRGV differs from other state-supported mathematics and science high schools in that the academy offers students the opportunity to complete two years of college concurrently with the last two years of high school. Actions taken with the hope of enhancing the transition: academic guidance, study periods, academic tutoring through upper level classmates, peer study groups, as well as social events are supported by the program administrator, the academic counselor and the program coordinator to create unity amongst the students. The MSA students become full-time college students, enroll in college classes, taught by university professors and follow a university schedule instead of a high school schedule. Students develop a clear understanding about their preparation, their organization and the study skills needed for success in college.
The goal of the Mathematics and Science Academy experience is to help develop the whole person by providing an engaging learning environment that enkindles student interest, promotes student inquiry, and promotes mutual respect between students and professors. It is the sincere desire that students will find an environment in which they can increase knowledge, develop imagination, explore ideas and feelings, find life-long friends, and strengthen their desire to serve their community. The mission of the MSA is to offer an accelerated educational program for bright, motivated Texas 11th- and 12th-grade high school students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing careers in mathematics and science. The academy seeks to provide students with the companionship of peers, to encourage students to develop the creativity, curiosity, reasoning ability, and self-discipline that lead to independent thought and action. The academy also seeks to develop integrity, commitment and purpose in students thus enabling them to benefit the society in which they live.
- Since opening in the fall of 2007, MSA has graduated over 270 students from the program.
- Students have earned between 59 to 87 college credits.
- 100% of the students have continued their enrollment in a university to complete a bachelor’s degree.
- Over 80% of the MSA population is Hispanic/Latino.
- Enrollment in MSA has increased enrollment from 30 students in the initial year to 103 students for the 2015 – 2016 school year [2007 cohort – 30 students, 2008 cohort – 41 students, 2009 cohort – 45 students, 2010 cohort – 46 students, 2011 cohort – 47 students, 2012 cohort – 44 students, 2013 cohort – 43 students, 2014 cohort – 46 students, and 2015 cohort – 50 students].