With Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week a month away, The University of Texas-Pan American held a pre-HESTEC event - Journey to College - for recent high school graduates, Aug. 14, preparing to enter college as freshman at UTPA or other colleges across the nation.
The event offered students advice from UTPA alumni and current students on how to be successful their first year in college, develop their leadership skills, and learn about internship opportunities. Invited to participate in the event, held at the UTPA Student Union Theater, were more than 130 GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) scholarship recipients from across South Texas, who had participated in HESTEC for the past four years.
Robert Carreon, a 2005 UTPA graduate in electrical engineering, took time from his job as an equipment engineer at Texas Instruments to talk to students about how HESTEC made a difference in his life.
"University programs like these help students get more exposure to big companies and it gives them an opportunity to show their potential, that's how I got the exposure," Carreon said.
Carreon, who acquired his job after attending the HESTEC College Students Career Expo, told students the importance of socializing, networking and attending events like HESTEC to broaden their college experience. He also stressed the significance of maintaining good grades, and a relationship with the Career Services department, which helps students find employment.
Other speakers at HESTEC's Journey to College included representatives from UTPA organizations such as the Leadership Academy, Alpha Lambda Delta, Community Service, Student Government Association, Office of Student Development, and Leadership Exercise.
In addition, students had the chance to hear from Camilo Pardo, chief designer in Ford's Living Legends Studio and the creator of the 2005 Ford GT, during a live telephone conference. Pardo will attend his third HESTEC this year and will participate in Student Leadership Day Sept. 26 where more than 1,000 middle and high school students are expected.
Cynthia Prado, a University Scholar and GEAR UP scholarship recipient from Rio Grande City, said she enjoyed the pre-HESTEC event with Carreon and current UTPA students, whom she said she could relate too.
"They are just like us, and it was great to hear from them," she said.
Prado, who plans to major in pre-pharmacy at UTPA, said the pre-HESTEC event was great way to encourage students to pursue their studies and careers in the fields of science, engineering, math and technology.
HESTEC, which runs Sept. 25-Oct. 1, is hosted by UTPA and the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15). The weeklong event brings together students, teachers, and corporate America and government agencies for one common goal - to fill the need for Hispanics in the fields of science, engineering, math and technology.
Among the HESTEC highlights for the public are the College Students Career Expo, Sept. 29 at the UTPA Fieldhouse from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Community Day, Sept. 30, 4-9 p.m. on the University campus.
The Career Expo will feature more than 60 corporations and organizations in search of the best and brightest South Texas has to offer. Some of the exhibitors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Ford Motor Company Fund, Kraft Foods Global, Inc., Microsoft, Texas Instruments, and many more.
For further information on the HESTEC College Students Career Expo, call the UTPA Office of Career Services at 956/381-2243.
To learn more about HESTEC and Community Day, call 956/381-3361 or visit the Web site at www.hestec.org.