BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Wednesday, Brownsville Independent School District announced a $2.5 million donation from the Elon Musk Foundation that district officials applied for in October 2021.

“So, it came to our attention that the Musk Foundation was interested in providing resources and funds to local districts so, of course, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Dr. Anysia Treviño, Deputy Superintendent at Brownsville ISD.

Pictured: Welding Machine; Credit: KVEO Iris Karami

Treviño explained that schools district-wide submitted a needs assessment or a list of needed items in the classroom to the Musk Foundation to request funding.

“We’re very fortunate that every single proposal from every school was approved,” said Treviño. “And so this provided us an opportunity to buy desktops for our students and laptops, iPads and certainly the interactive panels that all our teachers are receiving.”

According to Treviño, the funding is geared towards enhancing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs at BISD.

“We did allocate it based on the student enrollment per school,” said Treviño.

BISD officials said it’s not a challenge to get students interested in STEM programs with the presence of SpaceX in the Rio Grande Valley.

Vanessa Rivera, assistant director of the Career and Technical Education Department at BISD who oversees the STEM and Space Academy at CTE, said she agrees.

“The moment you mention SpaceX to our students they’re excited. They’re excited to learn more about it the moment we say they’re building rockets right in our backyard they’re like ‘where? Why ma’am?’,” said Rivera.

Rivera added that CTE received $1.1 million in funding from the Musk Foundation in 2021 to improve and expand STEM training and programs.

“To build capacity within our district we are looking into training teachers in the area of STEM and computer science so we’ve developed a teacher boot camp,” said Rivera.

BISD officials added overall the funds help improve students’ preparedness for the workforce and encourage them to take on employment at SpaceX and other STEM careers.