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SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The San Marcos CISD said Thursday a $1,500 grant will help create a new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) club at San Marcos High School (SMHS) and give students a chance to attend out-of-state STEM camps.

The district said it recently received funding from the Catalyzing Inclusive STEM Experience All Year Round (CISTEME365) grant initiative. 

CISTEME365 is an initiative by the University of Illinois’s Grainger College of Engineering in partnership with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), according to the district. 

CISTEME365 gets money from the National Science Foundation, according to the district.

The grant will also provide SMHS’ STEM Club with supplies, the district said, and it will provide students with access to scholarships to attend the University of Illinois STEM Summer Camps. 

The district said a group of San Marcos High School teachers went to the University of Illinois’s Increase Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA) Electrical & Computer Engineering Camp in late July. 

The SMHS teachers spent 10 days getting intensive study, hands-on engineering experience and working with students from around the U.S., according to the district. 

“The electrical engineering aspect of it was amazing, getting to be on the college campus and see the facilities that they have,” said Rebecca Kroener. “We wired breadboards and electrical circuits, then soldered them together to create the actual circuits. It was all very, very high level.” 

The SMHS teachers will bring back their experience to lead the newly formed STEM Club, the district said. The group said they received high interest from students during Rattler Round Up, SMHS’s annual back-to-school night, and during the first week of school. 

“We want to make STEM Club as accessible as possible,” said Catherine Stoughton. “A lot of kids are actually interested. You don’t have to be on a computer and coding for engineering. It doesn’t just have to be electrical engineering. There’s all kinds of stuff.”