The Next Generation of Engineers | Science Extravaganza!

The Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists (SOLES) and the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) recently hosted Science Extravaganza, an all-day program for middle and high school students, at the SJSU Davidson College of Engineering. The program seeks to engage students’ interest in engineering and other technical fields so that they may consider them as a future career choice.

Over 450 students from targeted middle and high schools attended the event on Saturday, February 9, 2008, hosted by SJSU and Apple. Targeted schools were primarily those with a large number of Hispanic students.

Raul Delaselva, a teacher from Lee Mathson School commented, “As usual Science Extravaganza [SE] was very, very exciting and educational. [SE] is a great place to put the kids in to learn about engineering. We bring students every year. We love it.” Mr Delaselva and Mr. Margarito have brought 150-200 students every year for the past three years. Once they return to school, Mr. Delaselva will also have his students write an essay on the event.

Middle and high school students were provided with the opportunity to participate in hands-on projects and experiments or attend informative presentations on various technical and scientific subjects. Workshops were conducted by Hispanic engineering student volunteers from SJSU, UC Davis, San Francisco State University, CSU Chico, and Stanford University. Companies such as Apple, Applied Materials, PG&E, and NASA Ames, as well as SJSU alumni collaborated and volunteered presenting workshops.

The featured keynote speaker, Edgar Luna-Ramirez, SJSU alumnus of Mechanical Engineering (‘07), is now a graduate student at SJSU pursuing a dual master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration.

Organizers were energized by the success of the program. Marisela Benitez, SOLES Secretary and a senior Civil Engineering student, remarked that “it is very gratifying to see students’ motivation and interest in attending this event to learn more about science and engineering.”

Benjamin Hor, a graduating senior and Mechanical Engineering student was part of the workshops team. “I wish there would have been something like this when I was growing up. We were all tired at the end but sad when it was over. It was great fun to see the students enjoy themselves and see the hard work pay off.”

The program also reinforces the benefits of higher education, and students were able to participate in workshops on attending college and college preparation.

SJSU SOLES leadership worked hard to make this event successful: John Orozco, President; Isela Lopez, Vice President; and Marisela Benitez, Secretary. Ricardo Orozco and Victor Calderon, event Co-Chairs, and Monica Kapil and Scott Mc Phearson were some of the other volunteer coordinators for this impressive event. Jeff Salinas, who works for Applied Materials and was an event Co-Chair, was instrumental in organizing the students and ensuring the event ran smoothly. Jeff is a member of the professional MAES chapter.