As part of National Engineers Week (Feb. 17-21), world renowned technology expert and Senior Vice President for IBM Nick Donofrio visited The University of Texas-Pan American, and spoke to more than 500 high school seniors from across the Rio Grande Valley about the critical need for more engineers during a presentation Friday, Feb. 21.
The presentation - held at the Engineering Building - was part of an all-day event that encouraged area students to pursue careers in science and engineering.
"What makes the world turn, what generates real wealth in the world is our ability to apply engineering and science. That is why engineers and scientist are so important to our country," said Donofrio, who has been with IBM for 36 years. "You have that ability in your hands, but you must stick with your passion for engineering."
According to Donofrio, by the year 2008, the United States will need to fill two million science and engineering jobs. IBM's focus, he said is to entice more students to consider the sciences as a career, particularly women who only make up 10 percent of the engineering workforce.
The other underrepresented group in the science and engineering workforce are minorities - including Hispanics, African-Americans and Native Americans.
During the conference with visiting high school and UTPA students, Donofrio outlined how the "convergence of information technology and biology is helping the IT industry learn how and why living systems naturally organize themselves, and then apply that learning to the world of computing systems."
Donofrio also warned them to prepare for momentous changes in technology he promised will unfold in the decade ahead.
"Don't get comfortable with today's technology. What is fast will only get faster, what is best will only get better," said Donofrio.
Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs, said having Donofrio at UT Pan American was a privilege because of his influence in the technology industry.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Nick Donofrio at The University of Texas-Pan American," Arriola said. "He believes in getting young people into the science, mathematics and engineering programs. And most importantly, he believes in education."
Donofrio, who joined the IBM family in 1967, spent the early part of his career in integrated circuit and chip development as a designer of logic and memory chips. He held numerous technical management positions, and later, executive positions in several of IBM's product divisions.
Currently, he leads the strategy for developing and commercializing advanced technology across IBM's global operations. He is responsible for IBM research, the Personal Systems Group, the Integrated Supply Chain and Integrated Product Development teams. Donofrio earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967, and a master's degree in the same field from Syracuse University in 1971.