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HESTEC Week begins its seventh year at the University
By Melissa Vasquez
956/381-2741
Posted: 09/17/2008
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After seven years in existence, Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week at The University of Texas-Pan American is still going strong and this year its goal is to “Launch Tomorrow’s Innovators.”


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Corporate leaders, high-ranking government officials, scientists and higher education administrators talked about issues facing education and the need for more students to enter STEM careers during the Congressional Roundtable on Science Literacy at HESTEC 2007. File Photo.
The weeklong event, to be held Sept. 21-27 on the UTPA campus, celebrates careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields while at the same time it encourages elementary to high school-aged students to think of themselves as the next generation of leaders in these areas.

“HESTEC’s main objective is to emphasize the importance of science literacy to young students and encourage them to consider careers in the STEM fields,” said Dr. S.J. Sethi, HESTEC acting executive director. “As a University we also want to promote higher education to all children and their parents, and let them know it is something that can be attained no matter their background.”

HESTEC is held annually in conjunction with the Office of Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15).

During HESTEC Week, students, teachers, administrators and parents will have the opportunity to attend interactive workshops and seminars that will focus on STEM enrichment activities, hear from motivational speakers, and participate in competitions, such as the annual robotics contest.


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Pictured in a file photo from HESTEC 2007 are left to right Eduardo Reyes, José Casas and Bernabe Reyes, La Villa High School students, who participated in the tower building challenge – an activity held during HESTEC 2007 Student Leadership Day.
For the University students, HESTEC will offer several symposiums with leading experts in the areas of science, education and business. In addition, college students looking to score a job with some of the country's top Fortune 500 companies will be able to meet with representatives during the HESTEC Student Career Expo, Friday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the UTPA Fieldhouse.

Although the focus is on science, engineering and technology, the Expo is open to other fields. HESTEC will conclude with its Community Day blowout Saturday, Sept. 27 starting at 4 p.m. on the UTPA grounds.

This year’s Community Day will feature for the first time in the annual NASA traveling educational exhibit, titled “Living and Working on Mars,” a replica of the Mars Science Laboratory that will be launched in 2009. This will be the first time NASA will display the mobile laboratory in Texas.

In addition, Community Day continues with its lineup of musical performers. This year’s show will feature live musical performances by norteño band Pesado and reggaeton artist Baby Boy. Community Day will be emceed by UTPA alumnus and Rio Grande Valley native Valente Rodriguez, best known for his role as Ernesto "Ernie" Cárdenas on the “George Lopez” sitcom.

Community Day will also offer the public a chance to tour UTPA’s state-of-the-art H-E-B Planetarium, which will be showing full-dome video presentations that allow viewers to travel through space.

While at Community Day, don’t forget to stop by UTPA’s Visitors Center and visit with one of the University’s biggest visitors, “A T. rex Named Sue.” This bilingual exhibition, created by The Field Museum, Chicago, and made possible through the generosity of McDonald’s Corporation, features a full-sized cast of Sue’s skeleton as the centerpiece of the traveling exhibit and tells the story of the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed.

For more information on HESTEC 2008, visit http://www.hestec.org/ or call 956/381-3361.