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HESTEC launches fourth year in South Texas
Posted: 09/23/2005
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With baby boomers retiring at high rates every year, company leaders are looking to recruit young people - especially Hispanics, who are underrepresented in the fields of engineering, science, math and technology.

In order to meet the demand, The University of Texas-Pan American and the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) have partnered with major corporations to create Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week - Sept. 26-Oct. 1.

The weeklong event brings together students, teachers, corporate America and government agencies all under one roof for one common goal - to fill the need for Hispanics in the fields of science, engineering, math and technology.

With Hispanics making up more than 41.3 million of the nation's population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, their advancements in the fields of science, technology and engineering will be in high demand to represent the proportion of the population they represent said Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs at UTPA and HESTEC steering committee chair.

This year marks the fourth year HESTEC will be held on the UTPA campus with thousands of students, teachers and families expected to participate.

"The ultimate goal of HESTEC is to serve as a vehicle to encourage thousands of young Hispanics to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology. These careers offer good paying jobs for our students and help to strengthen our nation and keep us as the world's technology leader. Through HESTEC we also hope to raise millions of dollars in scholarship support for students," Arriola said.

HESTEC offers a variety of activities and hands-on workshops for students and teachers as well as a Community Day - Oct. 1 - for students, families and members of the community. More than 50,000 are expected to attend the biggest event of the week and enjoy a fun-filled day of campus tours, presentations from Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, interactive exhibits and entertainment.

Celebrity guest Cheech Marin, actor, director, writer, art collector and humanitarian, will talk one-on-one with the Community Day crowd about his renowned career as well as his Chicano art collection, which is one of the largest in the world and has been displayed in the Smithsonian. Latin Grammy-nominated groups Elefante and Volumen X will perform along with three-time Grammy award winner Vikki Carr, who will close the HESTEC festivities on the main concert stage in the Quad.

HESTEC opens Sept. 26 with Math and Science Educator Day, which features a day set aside for middle school and high school teachers and school administrators to learn valuable training and the latest teaching techniques at workshops and motivational seminars in the fields of science and technology.

Other highlights for this year's HESTEC include Student Leadership Day, Sept. 27; Latinas in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology Day, Sept. 28; and the College Students Career Expo, Sept. 30, which is expecting to bring college students from across the state to meet with top corporate and government recruiters from companies and agencies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Texas Instruments, Central Intelligence Agency, NASA and many more.

New additions to the 2005 HESTEC include the National Geographic Geography Summit - Sept. 29 - which will feature presentations by explorers and scientists 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.

Another addition is the Festival of International Books and Arts (FESTIBA) - Oct. 1 - an exposition for book lovers of all ages. Arriola said in the four years HESTEC has been in existence it has made a name for itself nationally and in the next five or 10 years he would like to see it become the premier engineering and science event in the nation.

"UTPA is now ranked seventh in the nation in the number of Hispanic engineering students and within 10 years it will lead the nation in the production of Hispanic engineers and HESTEC I believe will play a critical role in that effort," Arriola said.

To learn more about HESTEC at The University of Texas-Pan American or to become a sponsor, call 956/381-3361 or visit www.hestec.org

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