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UTHSC appoints coordinator of recruitment and science outreach activities

Irene Chapa, Ph.D., has been appointed coordinator of recruitment and science outreach activities at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

She serves as the point of contact between the Health Science Center and secondary and post-secondary schools. Dr. Chapa brings an average of 300 elementary, high school and college students from San Antonio and South Texas to visit the UTHSC every month.

"We offer a variety of outreach programs intended to spark an interest in science in the minds of our young population and to recruit potential students into our many wonderful educational programs," Dr. Chapa said.

When students visit the UTHSC, they receive an overview of the five schools and a walking tour of the grounds, classrooms and selected labs. An emphasis is placed on providing students with a hands-on experience. Students are given the opportunity to listen to presentations from representatives of the individual schools.

"We hope that students gain a greater understanding of the many opportunities available in the health professions and learn how the Health Science Center can help them realize their dreams," she said.

"Dr. Chapa's work in reaching out to young students is extremely critical to the health and education needs of South Texas," said Chuck Rodriguez, Ph.D., assistant vice president for university relations. "Within the next 30 years, the Hispanic population of Texas will be nearing 50 percent. When students, especially those from the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the barrios of South Texas, visit the UTHSC, they truly become interested in the health professions. Education here becomes real for them, immediate and attainable. These are the future doctors, nurses, dentists and biomedical researchers who will change the face of our health care professions. These also are our prospective students."

Dr. Chapa earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas A&M International University in Laredo in 1990 and worked as a science teacher in the San Antonio Independent School District for several years. In 1998 she received her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the UTHSC. Following that, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the department of physiology.

Dr. Chapa has earned several academic and professional honors, including awards from the Society for Neuroscience, the Nathan Shock Center Award and the UTHSC Hispanic Heritage Committee for Community Service. She also is a National Hispanic Scholar and a National Presidential Scholar.

For more information or to schedule a campus visit, call Dr. Chapa at (210) 567-3941.

Contact: Natalie Gutierrez or Will Sansom