Hispanic engineers to foster STEM future
Group to promote science to high school students
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 00:10
In hopes of engineering better futures for students, “Noche de Ciencias” will be held by the Texas A&M chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on Thursday at Bryan High School.
Citllali Gomez, director of external affairs for the society, said her organization is holding the event to reach out to the Bryan community in a way that will leave a lasting impression, especially in a school of mostly minority students.
“Many [society] members that come from high schools like this that are majorly composed of minority students,” Gomez said. “We know what it is like to be in their shoes and that’s why we want to give back to our community and help them overcome the endeavors that we have had to face.”
“Noche de Ciencias,” or Night of Science, is a national initiative established in 2008 by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Foundation to promote knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering and math among the Hispanic community.
The event is for both students and parents. Parents will attend panel discussions in both English and Spanish on the college application and financial aid processes and the benefits of encouraging their children to pursue a STEM career while students will participate in hands-on events.
Gomez said the goal is to help students apply what they learn in the classroom to real life.
“This opportunity will open doors for students that had never thought about going to college,” Gomez said. “I have visited the school before and many students have an idea of what college is, but not a true definition. By having [the Texas A&M chapter] host this event, we as college students can help inspire them to pursue not only a college degree but a degree in the STEM fields.”
Bryan High School students will be able to compete in a variety of design competitions to demonstrate different aspects of engineering. Jason Cordes, teacher coordinator for the program, said the competitions are designed to pique student interest and showcase the practical side of academia. Cordes said students last year designed paper “pencil” rockets and flew their rockets in a friendly contest.
“I have not previously hosted this event, but I did attend last year’s ‘Noche de Ciencias,’” Cordes said. “I was so taken by the response of the students who did attend that I knew I needed to be a part of it. To see the connection of understanding from academic to the practical is pretty magical.”
Caitlin Haskett, freshman mathematics major, said she understood first hand how such programs can better equip prospective students as they decide on majors.
“I had really good math teachers who not only encouraged me toward the STEM subjects but helped me understand them,” Haskett said.