Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Environmental Science and Engineering


Peter Golding

Second Advisor

Diane Golding


This dissertation explores how environmental engineering can utilize STEM education as a strategic tool, enhancing social sustainability and thereby empowering underserved Hispanic communities in West Texas. Responding to significant educational and resource disparities, this research introduces an innovative interdisciplinary framework that combines instruction-initiated resource activation (I2RA), culturally attuned parent engagement (CAPE), and community- centered STEM education (CCSE). This approach uniquely addresses the challenges faced by these communities, integrating environmental solutions with educational advancements to forge a path toward equitable STEM access and achievement.

Additionally, the "Elevate and Empower" case study exemplifies the practical application of this comprehensive framework, demonstrating its effectiveness in enhancing STEM education outcomes and narrowing the educational and social divides. Furthermore, this research highlights the framework's potential to catalyze policy-driven change, advocating for continued innovation and collaboration in engineering solutions for social sustainability and community empowerment. Placing environmental engineering at the center of societal progress, this study aims to demonstrate how targeted STEM educational initiatives can lead to significant social and environmental improvements.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

150 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Raquel Haggerty