Guest post from SciCheer Sammi Jo

What a great weekend in Edinburg, Texas! Five science cheerleaders including myself performed at The University of Texas Pan-American during their 10th anniversary HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology) festival. The University of Texas Pan-American is the tenth largest university in Texas with approximately 19,000 enrolled students, with an 87% Hispanic population.

The Science Cheerleaders teamed with Dr. Zen, an awesome professor and crayfish researcher at the University, to encourage students and families to get involved with citizen science by visiting Science For Citizens where they can help researchers, just like Dr. Zen, conduct their research. Check out Dr. Zen’s cool citizen science project here.

The science cheerleaders also continued to do what we do best, stomp out stereotypes and encourage students to pursue the dream of a science or technology related career field!

As an 8th grade science teacher, I was pleasantly surprised and refreshed by the number of students who told me that Science or Math are their favorite subjects in school! I met so many Hispanic children and teens with a passion for pursuing their dreams of a STEM related career field!

That’s a good thing because only a fraction of scientists and engineers are Hispanic. We need to tap underrepresented populations in the United States if we have any hope of filling all the technical jobs projected to be abundant in the coming years.

One of my favorite memories from day included a little girl who exclaimed, “I want to be an engineer!” and seconds later turned to her mother asking, “Mom, what’s an engineer?!”

Another little girl told me that it was “The best day of her life!” because she met the science cheerleaders and that she wants to be “just like us someday!”

A special “thank you” goes out to the National Science Foundation and HESTEC coordinators and event planners for making this exciting experience possible for us!

As always, another special thank you to Darlene Cavalier and Laura Eilers for all of their hard work and dedication!

GOOOO SCIENCE!!!

Sammi Jo

P.S. I can’t leave out another one of my favorite memories, meeting Mario Lopez (aka my teen crush …A.C. Slater!), who was also in town supporting HESTEC as a guest speaker!

To learn more about the Science Cheerleaders, visit ScienceCheerleader.com/faq .