Mayor Ivy Taylor officially proclaims Nov. 14-20, 2015 as STEM Week in San Antonio. Photo by Lea Thompson.
Mayor Ivy Taylor officially proclaims Nov. 14-20, 2015 as STEM Week in San Antonio. Photo by Lea Thompson.

City and business leaders celebrated the San Antonio’s future workforce during the third annual STEM Week Proclamation at City Hall on Thursday morning. 

STEM Week 2015, which runs from Nov. 14-20, will offer free activities and events to more than 4,500 inner-city students throughout San Antonio. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will kick off STEM Week with the sixth annual CORE4 STEM Expo on Saturday, offering six locations for students and families to learn more about the growing job markets in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“This CORE4STEM Expo does indeed do a wonderful job for preparing our students for a future in STEM careers and the workforce in San Antonio,” Mayor Ivy Taylor said before making the official STEM Week proclamation. “Connecting San Antonians with stable, well-paid jobs is one of my priorities as mayor.”

The CORE Expo aims to increase the number of middle school students interested in STEM careers with “Latino Day” and “Latina Day” events scheduled for next week. Each event will feature keynote speakers like Desiree LeBoeuf, the account manager for Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots and Jim Brazell, president of VentureRamp Inc. The events are expected to draw 1,700 students from five participating school districts.

STEM Week sponsors including Tesoro, SAWS, USAA and H-E-B, each companies that have their own growing IT departments, hope that the events will encourage students to pursue careers in the growing cybersecurity, engineering and technology job sectors in Texas.

“Every year, when the research is done, the kids come out more aware of STEM careers,” said Erika Prosper-Nirenberg, director of customer insights for H-E-B, of the Expo. “More are feeling confident that they can make it in the great beyond, and quite frankly, more proud of the fact that many of them are going to be the first generation to accomplish some sort of higher education.”

A variety of free, STEM-related events will be happening throughout the city, beyond the STEM Expo.

STEM History in San Antonio, developed by SASTEMIC, will take place on Monday, Nov. 16, at e-Watch, the event will allow student teams to build “their own museum for the day,” while learning about the connections between the history and future generations of technology.

Councilmember Ron Nirenberg, e-Watch Corporation CEO David Monroe, and Austin Roche, long-time engineering director and son of Datapoint Corporation founder Gus Roche will take part in a closing panel discussing technology, STEM, and the idea of creating a technology museum in San Antonio.  Rivard Report Director Robert Rivard will moderate.

Five minutes away from e-Watch, Leon Springs Elementary School is partnering with SASTEMIC, running coding and augmented reality classroom project demonstrations at the school. Their students will receive an advance tour of the museum and SASTEMIC’s Geekbus.

Click here for more information on STEM Week events happening throughout San Antonio from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20. Organizers will be adding more events to the list as schedules are finalized.

According to City officials, 80% of jobs in America will require a STEM education by the year 2020, but 60% of high school students in America have lost interest in STEM related studies by the time they graduate. Students from various STEM education programs from across the city such as Toyota’s partnership with Alamo Colleges, Harmony Science Academy and Latinas in Science and Engineering attended the proclamation to demonstrate a local shift in attitudes towards STEM careers.

Although male students are more than three times as likely to be interested in STEM, girls like Eileen Vela, a 7th grader at Harmony Middle School, are key to the future success of STEM fields in San Antonio.

Strong STEM skills can be useful for any job, but Vela said she wants to eventually use her skills as a zoologist, where she can help research and develop cures for animals affected by diseases or illness. In the meantime, Vela mentioned she was really looking forward to participating in her school’s science fair next month.

“I really enjoy learning about new things, especially engineering and science,” Vela said. “I can see myself in an a science or engineering career, and I know that I’m sparking a change.”

*Top image: Mayor Ivy Taylor officially proclaims Nov. 14-20 as STEM Week in San Antonio. Photo by Lea Thompson. 

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Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson is a Texas native who has lived in Houston, Austin and San Antonio. She enjoys exploring new food and culture events. Follow her adventures on Instagram, Twitter or Culture Spoon.