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National Geographic Education Foundation awards grant to HESTEC
Contact: University Relations 381-2741
Posted: 06/09/2005
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The National Geographic Education Foundation recently joined the bandwagon of supporters for The University of Texas-Pan American's Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week set for Sept. 26-Oct. 1.

Thanks to a $75,000 grant awarded by the National Geographic Education Foundation to UTPA in Washington, D.C., HESTEC will unveil the latest addition to the weeklong event - the HESTEC Geography Summit.

The Geography Summit will feature presentations by explorers and scientists, a poster competition, and hands-on activities for students. The goal is to increase awareness among middle school students about the various tools and technologies used in geography.

Pictured left to right are Gilbert Maldonado, UTPA director of Corporate Relations; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15); Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA President; Barbara Chow, executive director, National Geographic Education Foundation; Anne Pollard, program officer, National Geographic Education Foundation; and Christopher Shearer, director of grant making, National Geographic Education Foundation.
"The HESTEC Geography Summit will help middle school students see where geographic knowledge - combined with science and technology understanding - can take them," said Roland S. Arriola, UTPA vice president for External Affairs and chairman of the National HESTEC Committee. "We want students to see how people use tools of geography, like geographic information systems, to make decisions about their own community and places all over the planet."

National Geographic's involvement with HESTEC will help expand the reach of two other resources for educators in Texas - the Texas Geographic Alliance and Southwest Texas State University's Gil Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education.

"Through the professional development offered at HESTEC, we hope to connect teachers to the wealth of geography resources in Texas for science and social studies instruction," said Barbara Chow, executive director of the National Geographic Education Foundation.

Since 1988, the National Geographic Education Foundation has dispersed grants for innovative educational programs to bring geography to life. Programs include a grassroots network of geographic alliances, online resources for teachers and students, public-awareness efforts around geography and conservation, and professional development and mentoring programs for teachers.

National Geographic Education Foundation awards grants to organizations on a competitive basis, favoring programs with high-quality geographic content, broad reach, and evaluation of effectiveness, among other criteria. The Society also offers states an endowment challenge grant, which matches local contributions to create permanent funding for geography education. Twenty states and the District of Columbia, Chicago and Canada have so far established these funds.

"National Geographic is proud of its role in helping states and local communities restore geography to the classroom. We believe today's students must have a sound knowledge of geography to prepare for their role as stewards of the planet," Chow said. "Our grants help bring geography into kids' daily lives."

HESTEC, which is held on the UTPA campus, provides 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.

This year HESTEC will feature numerous events including Community Day, Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA), Student Leadership Day, College Students Career Expo and much more.

For information about HESTEC and the Geography Summit, contact Erica Reyes at 956/381-3361 or e-mail ereyes@coserve.org

For more information about National Geographic's educational grants, go to www.nationalgeographic.com/foundation

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