UTPA'S HESTEC begins in Edinburg

We're very happy to announce a new partnership we're launching with The University of Texas-Pan American.

Every Sunday during our 10 p.m. newscast, Action 4 News will be bringing you stories from the Edinburg institution, stories that matter to you and your families, stories about exciting new academic programs, important financial aid opportunities, cutting edge research and fun but educational activities.

In fact, we're kicking off our weekly report on one of UTPA's biggest events, HESTEC.

Thousands of people are expected on the campus of The University of Texas-Pan American for the 9th annual Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Program.

The week-long conference was created by UTPA in conjunction with Congressman Ruben Hinojosa as a catalyst to help increase the number of Hispanics entering STEM fields at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The biggest attraction of the week is Community Day " a free event that's open to the public.

Sandra Quintanilla has a preview in today's Action 4 News Report.

UTPA's HESTEC is all about...exposing kids of all ages to activities that promote the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and lead to exciting, challenging and high paying careers.

In its ninth year at the UTPA campus, the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology conference is a weeklong initiative designed to encourage our youth to consider STEM opportunities in college.

This proactive approach by UTPA addresses concerns from corporations worried about facing serious shortages in personnel in the near future. As always, the highlight of HESTEC week is Community Day Oct. 2nd.

The event sponsored by HEB is a free fun day filled with a wide array of interactive science exhibits for the entire family.

Corina Lopez, UTPA Special Projects Coordinator, said we do encourage children of all ages to attend the different exhibits that are going to be showcased, reason being that we want them to learn about science, engineering and technology at a very early age and when they get older they will be able to consider UTPA as their university to attend."

Folks can expect an appearance from the Future Lab, a one-of-a-kind travelling expo that will inspire, inform and educate those in attendance about the fantastic future of science and technology.

Other impressive exhibits will be brought in by "none other than NASA", a sponsor of HESTEC since its inception in 2002.

The Spidernaut, a 600 pound eight legged robot designed to service spacecraft will no doubt be a hit along with an exciting hands on display called CHAPS.

"Children are going to be able to come excavate the earth and learn about the earth's composition. That's one of the best ones that we have, a great one" said Lopez.

The Navy simulator will return this year as well as State Farm's Terri the Robot.

The fully integrated robotic device can tell stories, do interactive skits, sing, and lead karaoke.

Also, UTPA chemistry students will be on hand to perform their annual magic show and NASA astronaut Lee Morin will sign autographs and share his experiences from his 2002 Flight to the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

And... entertainment will be provided including music by Jay Perez, Marco Orozco, Norte y Sur, Bobby Pulido and Norteno group Duelo, a HESTEC favorite.

Our very own Action 4 News anchor and reporter Marcy Martinez will help kick off HESTEC Week tomorrow as MC for Educator Day, a day set aside for hundreds of science, math, engineering and technology teachers from throughout the Valley and as far away as Falfurrias and Laredo.

They will have the opportunity to hear from four Members of Congress and corporate executives about the latest in STEM field news and will also take part in breakout sessions where they will learn about the newest innovative ways of teaching STEM in the classroom.