By Nicole Ortiz
Special to News is my Business
HACEMOS, AT&T’s Hispanic/Latino Association, recently hosted the National High Technology Day, an event made possible through a mentorship program that promotes an environment through which participants can help each other find success. About 30 local high schoolers took part in this year’s locally sponsored event.
Through HACEMOS, students can learn about app design and circuitry, tour company labs and take part in interactive activities, company officials said.
Participating students had the opportunity to work with top AT&T executive directors, took tours of the company’s facilities focusing on how network technology works, and learned how applications work and how are they designed through the MIT App Inventor workshop, a hands-on technical activity.
During the tours, as part of the support group, AT&T volunteer employees shared their knowledge on a technical level, answering questions about the areas they were showing to the students, this media outlet learned.
Jose Luis Ordoñez, project manager for HACEMOS, said it took about two months to prepare the event in Puerto Rico, which included weekly calls to the mentors and conferees, and dealing with the different aspects of the event.
The association means for its volunteers to get involved not only with AT&T, but also in society, in their professional growth, in their educational expansion, and also to improve quality of life in the communities they work and live in, through voluntary work, executives said.
“The goal behind the annual event is to get more minority students interested in science, math and engineering career opportunities by exposing them to positive role models in science and technology,” said Rosie Montalvo, spokesperson for AT&T.
Citing National Science Foundation statistics, Montalvo said in 2007, Hispanics accounted for less than 7 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering. All minorities combined received 25 percent of degrees.
On the other hand, Ordoñez also explained that even though each chapter has its own set of goals to meet, their focus still is to get kids involved in the specified fields.
At the same time, he said the local HACEMOS chapter was initiated two years ago and was celebrating its second successful National High Technology day, which is marking its 16th edition stateside.
“The expectation was obviously to improve over last year’s event, which was the first we conducted in Puerto Rico. And definitely, the starting point was the experience that we’d had in that activity,” Ordoñez added, noting that about 30 students from University High School participated in the local event this year.
Montalvo said the expectation was to impact 1,900 students through the 30 cities including Puerto Rico this year.