The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and SpaceX have partnered on an initiative to encourage more women to study science.

Called the Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Giga-hertz Astrophysical Transient Emission program — or Stargate — the initiative will allow students to learn about rockets and spacecraft at the SpaceX launch center near Boca Chica Beach.

“Even after all these years, the representation of women in my field is still at about 10 percent,” said university Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development Theresa A. Maldonado, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering.

University officials hope SpaceX will inspire more women like Ramona Luna to study science.

“There has been comments that ‘Oh, I’m a woman. I don’t have to learn much because I can just study something else or dedicate (myself) to religion or stay in the kitchen,'” said Luna, who was born in Brownsville and lives in Matamoros.

Luna crossed the border every day to study.

“We should be treated equally in every field,” Luna said.