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Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

Sandra Quintanilla
University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas
(Phone: 956/381-2742)

October 10, 2003
RELEASE : 03-329
NASA Encourages Hispanic Students To Reach For The Sky
NASA will help encourage an estimated 325,000 high school students of Hispanic descent to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics during Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC) 2003, October 13-16.

HESTEC Week, hosted by the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, offers unique opportunities for Hispanic students to interface with industry executives, government officials and educators to help them explore science and mathematics-related careers. The event also actively engages educators and parents, while encouraging improvements in school science, mathematics and technology curricula.

NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Education Programs Dr. Clifford W. Houston, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, Equal Opportunity Programs executive Estella Gillette will participate as speakers, symposia panelists and workshop leaders. They join Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa and actress Rita Moreno to encourage students to pursue higher education, science and technical careers.

"One of NASA's core goals is to inspire the next generation of explorers, a diverse group of young people who will replenish our aging workforce," remarked Houston. "Our participation at HESTEC Week events enables us to reach an enormous audience of Hispanic students, advancing our ability to inspire and motivate young people traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related careers," he said.

NASA is proud to be in the second year of a $300,000, three-year program, Project PEERS, with the University of Texas-Pan American. The purpose of PEERS is to improve teachers' capacity to offer education opportunities for at-risk students from middle and high schools in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

HESTEC organizers expect on-site participation by more than 25,000 students, 2,000 educators and 2,000 parents. They anticipate reaching more than 300,000 students nationwide by webcasts and closed-circuit TV coverage of conference symposia and workshops. High school students from 42 Texas "GEAR UP" schools are participating in HESTEC. "GEAR UP," a Department of Education grant program, is designed to increase the number of low-income students succeeding in postsecondary education.

NASA is hosting an educational downlink on Tuesday, October 14, from 12:10 to 12:30 p.m. EDT with the crew of the International Space Station and HESTEC participants. The downlink is with the Station Expedition 7 crew, U.S. astronaut Ed Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.

The International Space Station program, provided via NASA downlink, is one in a series with education organizations across the country. It is an integral component of NASA's Teaching from Space Program. The program enables education opportunities, using the unique environment of human space flight, and builds partnerships with education communities to create unique learning opportunities, through the use of NASA research and educational technology.

The downlink is available on NASA TV on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.

For information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

For more information about HESTEC on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA's education programs on the Internet, visit:


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