EDINBURG, Texas (NNS) — "Change the World through STEM" is the theme of the 2015 Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week held on the campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), formally University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), Oct. 5-11.
HESTEC Week is an educational conference that features events geared toward promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to people of all ages and backgrounds.
HESTEC began with a congressional panel of 11 distinguished speakers focused on increases in STEM-related degrees and employment. Notable speakers consisted of the following members of Congress: Congressmen Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Congresswomen Marcia Fudge (OH-11) and Judy Chu (CA-27).
Commanding Officer, Capt. George Perez, Trident Training Facility, Kings Bay, Georgia, participated in the panel along with executives from UTRGV, Mercedes Independent School District, NASA, Shell and others.
"First and foremost, the amount of technical training one receives in the armed services is phenomenal," said Perez, who attended HESTEC in 2014. "In the submarine force, regardless of your educational discipline, we provide a college graduate the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the academic environment into an operational one."
A native of Corpus Christie, Texas, Perez said that a career in the Navy also provides college graduates the chance to lead men and women in support of the nation, which is a rewarding and huge responsibility.
HESTEC is celebrating its 14th year, and Hinojosa continues to champion the education of Latinos. From data compiled by the Texas Education Agency, Hinojosa stated that more than 50 percent of children in Texas public schools are Latino.
"Our state and nation has the responsibility to educate all children," said Hinojosa, who is also the co-founder of HESTEC. "For this reason, I believe we must do more to target much needed resources for the growing number of Latinos and English learners entering our nation's public schools."
According to Hinojosa, HESTEC, under the direction of UTRGV, remains a shining example on what can be achieved to promote student success.
Through the support of sponsors and partners, to include the U.S. Navy, HESTEC strives to empower teachers and administrators with the resources to inspire their students to pursue STEM careers, such as Educator Day; engage secondary level students in STEM-related, hands-on activities and presentations such as Student Leadership Day, Latina Day, Robotics Day, Middle School Challenge and SeaPerch Challenge; provide university students with employment and internship opportunities such as College Symposiums and Fall Career Expo; and involve the community as a whole such as Community Day.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrc/.