UTPA gears up for HESTEC, Oct. 14-19
Posted: 10/11/2002
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In an effort to strike a blow against the math and science phobia that plagues many of our Hispanic children, The University of Texas-Pan American, along with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC), GEAR UP, and the Department of Energy are gearing up for the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC), Oct. 14-19.

"We hope that through HESTEC we are able to motivate students of all ages in the Rio Grande Valley and the state into entering the fields of math, science, engineering, and technology," Vice President for External Affairs Roland S. Arriola said. "Our goal is to help increase the number of Hispanics and minorities entering those fields, and through HESTEC it can be done."

Students and parents in the Rio Grande Valley will get the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a space shuttle replica, meet an astronaut, and have fun while learning about math and science during HESTEC - which will be held at various locations on the UTPA campus.

The main goal of HESTEC is to increase the number of Hispanics in engineering, science, and mathematics disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate level.

HESTEC will feature a week of events that will excite and motivate middle and high school students to enter these fields, and inspire educators to act as guides and mentors.

Thousands of engineering students, scientists and engineers, teachers, University officials, corporate representatives, and government organizations, are expected to participate in the event. Among the companies supporting and participating in HESTEC, include the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), The Boeing Corporation, Lockheed-Martin, IBM, Dell, SBC Communications, Blockbuster Inc., Coca-Cola, and many more.

HESTEC participants will have the chance to participate in fun, interactive workshops; explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math; and participate in congressional hearings with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus on science literacy issues. These are just some of the activities that will be offered during HESTEC.

More than 15,000 students and parents are expected to participate in the Sci-Tech Expo and Community Night, Oct. 16 from 5-8 p.m. at Edinburg Baseball Stadium. The Sci-Tech Expo will offer exhibits provided by NASA, and other corporate, governmental and University partners. Math and Science Educator Day, Oct. 14, will round up more than 1,000 teachers from South Texas and provide them with workshops and seminars that will focus on enrichment activities in engineering, science, math, and technology.

Among the speakers for HESTEC, include distinguished leaders Michael Dell, Dell Computer Corporation; Rita Colwell, executive director of the National Science Foundation; Edward E. Whitacre Jr., chairman and C.E.O. of SBC Communications Inc.; Sean O'Keefe, NASA administrator; David O. Swain, senior vice president for engineering and technology of The Boeing Corporation; and Nigel Travis, president and C.O.O. of Blockbuster Inc. Also expected to speak is Jaime Escalante, world reknown mathematics, physics and computer teacher, who was the subject of the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver"; and Edward James Olmos, an award winning actor, producer, director and community activist.

Other events during HESTEC, include a Math and Science student Exploration Day, Oct. 15 - which is an initiative to motivate students in pre-kinder through college about math and science education, and focus on careers in science and technology. More than 2,000 students are expected to attend.

A Hispanic Leadership Day and Forum on Science Literacy Among Students will be held Oct. 17. The forum will be led by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa - who also serves as chairman of the Education Committee for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The event will focus on the current state of science literacy and technology education among Hispanics in the United States.

For more information or to participate in HESTEC, call 956/316-7902 or visit To become a sponsor, call 956/318-5307.