Regional students in grades K-12 spent Saturday learning more about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.
It was all part of UTEP’s continuing outreach to local K-12 schools, as the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering offered the information session for students as part of its annual Southwest Emerging Technology Symposium (SETS).
“It is of utmost importance to engage students in STEM early, especially in our community,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., professor and chair of UTEP’s mechanical engineering department and organizer of the symposium. “Through several programs, we are rolling out unprecedented outreach efforts to build a strong STEM pipeline in every ZIP code in our region. Research confirms it is during the K-12 years that interest in these in-demand fields is initiated, then cultivated to ensure a future workforce in STEM. We’ve recruited these industry experts, some who are first-generation graduates, to motivate and inspire our future engineers and scientists.”
Session participants included RAND Corp. Senior Policy Researcher Michael McGee, Ph.D.; NASA Johnson Space Center Chief Technologist for the Propulsion and Power Division John H. Scott; NASA Glenn Research Center Chief of the Chemical and Thermal Propulsion Systems Branch Mark Klem; FBM Director of Programs with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Nick Gonzales; Acting Crosscutting Technology Manager in the Office of Strategic Planning for the U.S. Department of Energy Robert Romanosky; and Director of the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation at UTEP Ryan Wicker, Ph.D.
The symposium provided career-building opportunities for students from UTEP and across the country in a professional conference setting, connecting these students with researchers, scholars and industry professionals for possible recruitment opportunities.
All photos courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre for UTEP