Latino families from across Georgia learned about college and STEM opportunities
Apr 5, 2018 | Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech Student Center
On March 17, 2018, Georgia Tech’s GoSTEM program held its Sixth Annual Latino College and STEM Fair (LCSF). The fair attracted Latino families from Atlanta and beyond to visit Georgia Tech. About 600 people from schools and colleges as far as southwest Georgia attended. Participants filled the Student Center with new and familiar faces – each excited to learn about college and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) opportunities.
The fair is one of the major annual events hosted by GoSTEM. The program is a partnership between Georgia Tech and Gwinnett County Public Schools. It was established to strengthen the pipeline of Latino students into post-secondary STEM education.
LCSF provides support and resources to Latino students and families through interactive workshops, information sessions, and discussion panels. “This event provides families with valuable information and resources to help promote and support the education of children, primarily in the Latino community,” said Director of the Office of Hispanic Initiatives at Georgia Tech Jorge Breton. “It also makes attendees aware of the important role higher education – and, more specifically, STEM fields – play in today's world.”
For the 2018 LCSF, GoSTEM partnered with the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking for the first time. The museum hosted two workshops for students to construct their own paper towers. Students also learned to code in a music-mixing workshop using EarSketch, a computing environment developed by Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science and School of Music.
In the roundtable discussion called “Ask Me (almost) Anything,” students in grades 8-12 sat down one-on-one with Latino Georgia Tech students to ask questions about college life. Activities like the roundtable enabled young students to interact with role models and realize for themselves that attending college and pursuing STEM careers is possible for everyone.
“A lot of these students have never even thought about going to college; so for the kids enrolled in our programs, we open that door for them,” said Amanda Smith, Educational Outreach Coordinator at CEISMC. “They are excited about it, and the parents see that excitement and want as much information as they can find to help their kids on that journey.”
Information sessions and discussions covered various college- and STEM-related topics. GoSTEM’s partners from Gwinnett County Public Schools participated in these discussions in several ways.
Lauren Nichols, a Georgia Tech alumna and chemistry teacher at Meadowcreek High School, took part in the first “STEM Career Conversations” panel, and Desiree Tallent, a school counselor at Lilburn Middle School, gave a presentation about helping students stay on track.
Many activities were conducted in Spanish and English. Programs were in English and Spanish. Spanish-speaking volunteers assisted in translations.
The concluding event was a panel discussion involving Latino parents, students, and professionals. It was conducted in Spanish and translated into English.
Activities are bilingual so parents who speak only Spanish can also access the information provided by LCSF. “[At LCSF] parents can feel comfortable asking questions and engaging with the presenters in a meaningful way,” said Diley Hernandez, Program Director for GoSTEM.
She continued: “It provides a welcoming environment for families and it lets them know that Georgia Tech is a place where their kids can be comfortable and valued – and their culture and language is valued, too.”
By Rosemary Pitrone - CEISMC Communications