Superintendents and administrators from school districts across the Rio Grande Valley came to The University of Texas-Pan American Thursday, March 28 to discuss plans and lend their support for Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC), Oct. 14-19.
Among the school districts represented were Edinburg, Progreso, Mission, Weslaco and South Texas. The meeting gave administrators the opportunity to discuss the role Valley school districts will play in making HESTEC a success.
Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week will be during National Hispanic Heritage Month and a week prior to the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC), Oct. 17-19 at South Padre Island, with UTPA serving as academic host.
South Texas ISD Superintendent Marla Guerra said she is looking forward to participating in the weeklong event.
"It's also a tremendous opportunity for South Texas ISD because we have a high school that focuses on science and technology," Guerra said. "So we at the high school level are already beginning to prepare the future engineers of this area and of this state."
Guerra said an event like this will allow big corporations and local, state and national officials to see the future of the Valley - its students.
"To me, (this event) is putting this area on the map in terms of people knowing about us and seeing the potential here, and I think that is wonderful," Guerra said.
HESTEC will provide middle and high school students with the opportunity to explore careers in mathematics, science and engineering; participate in hands-on workshops; and listen to role models discuss their achievements in fields such as aerospace, computers and biotechnology. Corporate and government engineers and scientists also will visit Valley schools.
Arturo Guajardo, PSJA ISD superintendent, said he would give UTPA and HESTEC 110 percent of his support.
"We are very excited because we have a population of 25,000 students at PSJA and we want them to go into science and technology, so what UTPA is doing here is tremendous for us," Guajardo said. "We are very excited because it's a beginning of a new era for our Hispanic kids here, and certainly we at PSJA plan to be a part of it."
Arriola also discussed the many opportunities HESTEC will provide for students and educators in the Valley.
HESTEC opens Oct. 14 with a "Math and Science Educator Day," as more than 1,000 teachers from throughout South Texas are expected to attend workshops on science, math and technology in the school curriculum.
"We would like to request that the superintendents and the Region One Education Service Center work with UTPA," Arriola said. "We want to bring 1,000 teachers here and provide them with the latest in what's happening in science and the latest science techniques in working with kids."
A "Hispanic Leadership Day and Sci-Tech Expo" will be Oct. 16, and more than 10,000 participants are expected to attend. Michael Dell, president and CEO of the Dell Computer Corp., is keynote speaker for Technology 2020 on Oct. 17. Dell will speak about the future of technology and the job market in the year 2020.
Partners for HESTEC include UTPA; HENAAC; the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, District 15; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; UTPA GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs); and the Region One ESC. For more information about HESTEC, log onto www.hestec.org or call 956/381-3361.