With science and engineering employment opportunities increasing three times faster than all other occupations, The University of Texas-Pan American, in conjunction with the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) are gearing up to prepare students for those careers during Hispanic Science, Engineering and Technology (HESTEC) Week, Sept. 25-Oct. 1.
"Increasingly, Hispanics will be called upon to reverse the trend," Hinojosa said. "By the year 2010, Hispanics will represent one out of four students in U.S. schools, but today only four percent of U.S. scientists and engineers are Hispanic."
With more than 350,000 students in grades K-12 in the Region One education service area in South Texas, HESTEC was created to prepare local students for future careers in science and technology.
During HESTEC, students, teachers, administrators and parents will have the opportunity throughout the week to learn about math and science by attending workshops, listening to motivational speakers and participating in interactive demonstrations, such as robotics competitions, at various locations throughout the University.
HESTEC's weeklong events include Educator Day, Sept. 26, which will host more than 1,000 K-12 teachers and administrators who will attend interactive workshops and seminars that will focus on enrichment activities in mathematics, science and technology. Latinas in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology Day, Sept. 28, will cater to more than 1,000 female high school students and their mothers. They are expected to attend a full-day conference where they will hear from prominent executives and motivational speakers.
The new HESTEC Geography Summit, Sept. 29, 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. Community Day, Oct. 1, at the UTPA Fieldhouse, is expected to bring out thousands of Rio Grande Valley residents who will have the opportunity to learn how science, mathematics and technology impact their lives by talking to top technology exhibitors, touring state-of-the-art educational facilities and getting to meet celebrity guests.
Now in its fourth year, HESTEC has raised $1.2 million from corporate sponsors for student scholarships since its inception.
Shan Carr, vice president for Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity Programs for Lockheed Martin, also spoke at the press conference via video feed from Bethesda, Md. about the importance of their collaboration with HESTEC and the University.
"Our future as a corporation depends on your (students) ability to do the high-tech tasks of tomorrow," she said. "We believe that building the talent pipeline for the future has to begin early. We also believe corporations have a responsibility to help develop the next generation of business and technical leaders and it is clear that many of these leaders come from increasingly diverse backgrounds."
Among the major corporations supporting and participating in HESTEC are the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Geographic Education Foundation, State Farm Companies Foundation, Ford Motor Company, The Boeing Company, Shell Oil Company, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil, Kraft, Time Warner Cable and many more.
The keynote speakers for HESTEC include such distinguished leaders as John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company, Laura Sanford, president of SBC Foundation, Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman of the board for National Geographic Society, Sandra E. Ulsh, president of Ford Motor Company Fund, Raul Yzaguirre, former CEO and president for the National Council of La Raza and Magda Yrizarry, vice president of Verizon, among others.
Celebrity guests Cheech Marin, actor, director, writer, art collector and humanitarian, as well as Erik Estrada, actor, best known as "Ponch" in the hit television series "CHIP's" and "Johnny" in the international television series "Dos Mujeres, Un Camino" are also on the list of speakers for HESTEC 2005. Three-time Grammy award winner Vikki Carr - whose success has spanned four decades - will also take the stage at HESTEC during Community Day.
"HESTEC is more than the product of what occurs in the five days on campus," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said. "HESTEC is about capturing the imagination of the Rio Grande Valley and connecting that imagination to the future, to what we must prepare for."
For more information about HESTEC or to become a sponsor, call 956/381-3361.