Latino Families Visit Georgia Tech to Learn About College and Career Opportunities in STEM
Mar 8, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech hosted the seventh annual Latino College and STEM Fair (LCSF) on January 26, 2019. The event was organized by the GoSTEM program in collaboration with the Office of Institute Diversity. Around 500 attendees from the metro Atlanta area and beyond came together at the Georgia Tech Student Center to participate in hands-on STEM activities, workshops, and discussion panels.
The GoSTEM program is designed to strengthen the pipeline of Latino students into post-secondary STEM education. LCSF is a significant component of the program. It exposes many first-generation Latino students and their families to important college information and career opportunities in STEM. It also provides families with meaningful guidance about preparing for college.
“The annual Latino College and STEM Fairs provide a unique opportunity for families to learn how to get their children to college and for children to get excited about college and STEM careers,” said Jorge Breton, director of the Office of Hispanic Initiatives at Institute Diversity.
During the college fair, students had the opportunity to talk to representatives from 12 Georgia colleges, including Georgia Tech. After the fair, students could ask more specific questions during one-on-one meetings with admissions officers.This was part of a new set of activities introduced by LCSF to engage more high school students.
“This year, we wanted to make changes to the program so that it was more appealing to the high schoolers. We had a separate track for high school students that were interested,” said Amanda Smith, Educational Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics & Computing(CEISMC). This track included a workshop on career exploration and a mini-tour of the Georgia Tech campus.
The event concluded with a discussion panel. Georgia Tech faculty members Dr. Annie Antónand Dr. Rosario Gerhardt spoke on the panel. They were joined by Dr. Juan-Carlos Aguilar, Science Program Manager from the Georgia Department of Education.
“[For the panel,] we decided to home in on a single topic: the importance of representation of Latinos and Hispanics in STEM fields and how that will impact the future,” Smith said. “Our programming has been more intentional to engage more people in a more meaningful way. [LCSF] gives Georgia Tech faculty the opportunity to engage with the students, the parents, and the public.”
The panel was conducted in Spanish and translated into English. This is in keeping with the bilingual and accessible goals of LCSF.
“It says a lot about [how] Georgia Tech is a welcoming environment to Latinos,” said GoSTEM Program Director Dr. Diley Hernandez. “It keeps the event highly engaged in culturally inclusive practices and honors the language of the community that we serve.”
GoSTEM continued its partnerships with Hispanic media outlets Univision and Mundo Hispánico. Hernandez was also invited to be interviewed on the Hispanic radio station Vida Atlanta to promote the event. These partnerships helped raise awareness about LCSF and about the services that GoSTEM provides.
Overall, the event is rewarding for both the organizers and the attendees.
“I really love to walk around and see when the kids are doing hands-on activities, and then they get their ‘Wow, that’s cool’ look … I think there’s something priceless about that,” Hernandez said.
By Rosemary Pitrone - CEISMC Communications