Designed to interest and inform students about careers in engineering and other technology-related professions, the two-hour videoconference, broadcast from Boeing's Houston facility, attracted juniors and seniors from the following high schools: Edinburg, Lyford, McAllen, Mission, Mission Veterans and PSJA.
Boeing employees participating in the conference were Arturo Martinez, ISS electrical power systems engineer; Carlos Pagan, associate technical fellow, thermal control systems; Juan Lesieux, manager of thermal and environmental control subsystems; and Kevin Calvin, ISS payload integration engineer. The presenters talked about their participation as engineers in various aspects of NASA's International Space Station (ISS). As a major service provider to NASA, Boeing plays a central role in every phase of the design, testing, building and operation of the ISS – NASA's orbiting laboratory.
Pagan told the students that NASA's Vision for Space Exploration policy endorsed by President George W. Bush in 2004 includes the return to the moon and travel to Mars and beyond.
"This is where a new generation of engineers like you will have the opportunity to be part of the United States Space Exploration venture," he said.
Letty Soto, UTPA development officer, who serves as the University's liaison to Boeing, said the presentation provides real life examples of engineering challenges on the ISS.
"The presentation provides students a vision of what to expect in their professional careers by sharing how Boeing engineers apply theoretical concepts acquired in college to meet the challenges encountered in the aerospace industry," she said.
Following the presentation, students had the opportunity to ask questions of the engineers and then tour some of the engineering facilities at UTPA.
Sergio Pena, coordinator for career technical education at the Mission CISD, who accompanied a group of students to the event found the videoconference useful to his students.
"The information presented was highly technical but it gave our students a good taste of what it takes to be an engineer," he said.
Dr. Roland Arriola, vice president of the UTPA Division of External Affairs, said Boeing is one of the largest corporate contributors to the UTPA College of Science and Engineering as well as to Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week, an annual event held at the University to increase interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields study and careers among Hispanic students and their parents.
"The company (Boeing) has donated more than $350,000 to the University and $250,000 of this amount has been committed to the College of Science and Engineering. The contributions are critical to the continued development of our science and engineering programs," he said.
Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. The company has customers in more than 90 countries and employs more than 150,000 people in over 70 countries worldwide. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services.