Innovative Summer Camps to Track Hispanic Students' Trek Through Math/Science Pursuits

New alliance aims to excite SciTech 2020 camp attendees about further

education, careers in related fields

Jun 21, 2007, 01:00 ET from Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

    DALLAS, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The SciTech 2020 math/science camps
 that Hispanic students attend this summer will be just the start of a
 relationship between the campers and three organizations vested in their
 academic and professional progress.
     The SciTech 2020 summer camps -- open to incoming high school
 sophomores -- are the first project of the Hispanic Alliance for STEM
 Opportunities, a partnership formed earlier this year by the Society of
 Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Hispanic Engineer National
 Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) and IBM to open up educational
 opportunities for young Hispanics interested in the subjects of science,
 technology, engineering and math (also known as "STEM"). Over sessions
 lasting four days on three college campuses throughout the U.S., SciTech
 2020 campers will dive into STEM subjects with fun lab experiments, math
 contests, tours of IBM and other activities. For a taste of the full
 "college experience," they will stay overnight in dorms.
     The SciTech 2020 summer camps are scheduled to take place: June 20-23
 at The University of Arizona in Tucson; Aug. 1-4 at The University of
 Colorado at Boulder; and Aug. 15-18 at California State University Los
 Angeles. Each camp can accommodate 40 students who live within 50 miles of
 the campus.
     The camps offer a constructive opportunity for the program
 administrators as well. During the years following each camper's visit, the
 Alliance will follow the camper's academic journey through school and
 beyond. Among other measures, the Alliance will keep track of the
 demographics of students; survey the students and evaluate their camp
 experience; invite camp alums to mentor new campers; launch a camp Web
 site; and perhaps most importantly -- track and assess the number of camp
 alums who graduate from high school, apply to college, receive acceptances
 and choose to major in STEM-related fields/disciplines.
     "We want to determine if what we have theorized is actually true --
 that reaching out early to young people who truly enjoy math and science
 classes will motivate them to pursue an education and career in a
 STEM-related field," said Diana Gomez, president of the board of SHPE. "Our
 larger goal is to help diversify the STEM workforce with Hispanic talent
 and enhance the U.S. economy overall over the next several decades."
     Each of the three organizations involved in the Alliance provide an
 array of educational and professional programs to Hispanics in the United
 States. By streamlining their efforts, the organizations can collect vital
 statistics on Hispanics in STEM, said Raul Cosio, vice president, IBM
 Systems and Technology Group.
     "By measuring the camp and other projects' value to young Hispanics, we
 can adapt the program over the years to better inspire and nudge them
 closer to STEM," Cosio said.
     Ray Mellado, chairman of HENAAC, said the Alliance's commitment to
 monitoring the campers' experience and progress through school will be key
 to improving Hispanics' participation in STEM. "This is a time in which we
 must 'listen to the customer' who either will or won't buy into what we are
 trying to sell them -- that is, that STEM is fun," Mellado said. "If it
 isn't any fun for them, they will go somewhere else."
     For more information about the SciTech 2020 summer camps in Arizona and
 Colorado, contact Rafaela Schwan at (817) 272-1116 or For
 information about the camp in California, contact Monica Villafana at (323)
 262-0997 or For general information, contact
 Laurie Friedman of IBM at (914) 499-4608 or

SOURCE Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers