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Conference Session: “Hispanic STEM Success in Arizona”
The Hispanic community is underrepresented in most STEM fields, but Hispanic stories of success in Arizona are movie material. Who would have thought that high school students will design, built robots, participate in sophisticated competitions and win against top Universities?
This panel will share some good stories of STEM success in the Hispanic community, the fastest growing demographic group in Arizona and the country.
Among the panelist are up and coming young leaders and STEM professionals deeply committed to advocate for STEM for all.
Find out how the community is actively pushing for representation, inclusion, and success.
This panel is presented by CPLC, Chicanos por la Causa, one of the largest non-for-profit organization and the only community development corporation in Arizona that offers extensive services in both urban and rural areas. Its service delivery system is expansive enough to effectively reach more than one hundred thousand low-income individuals.
- America, Chief Science Officer Alhambra High School, Phoenix, Arizona, 11th Grade
- Mabel Munoz, International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, CEO & Founder at Building Dreams Robotics / Construyendo Sueños
- Ingrid Tay, Microchip Technologies, Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League Arizona
- Alexandra Figueroa, General Motors Lead Sr. Software Developer, Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona Lead
- Marcos Garciaacosta Jr., Mechanical Engineer Student, Metron Scientific Solutions, State Technology and Manufacturing, NASA/JPL
America, Chief Science Officer Alhambra High School Phoenix, Arizona 11th Grade
America’s objective is to Influence her peers to get involved in STEM.
America as Chief Science Officer has promoted STEM initiatives in her school like the Freshman Carnival, helped plan and organize STEM events for next year, and spread the word about MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement).
Additionally she is Planning Hermanas STEM field trip.
In February 2016, she attended the Honeywell State Cabinet Meeting and participated in the Town Hall with AZ Governor’s Office of Education. America advocated for the CSO Program in Washington D.C last May and met Arizona’s Legislators and representatives from the White House Office of Science/Technology Policy.
Her Passion is to share STEM programs at her school.
America is planning to study Aerospace Engineering.
Mabel Munoz, International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, CEO & Founder at Building Dreams Robotics / Construyendo Sueños
Mabel Munoz is an Arizona State University alumnus. In May 2012, she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. Currently she is working as an International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, an international medical device company.
Throughout high school, Mabel was involved in many academic and sports organizations including: The National Honor Society, Math Club, Falcon Marching Band, Cross Country, Tennis, Hispanic Mother Daughter Program, Phoenix Youth Council, and Aguila Leadership Institute. In the year 2008, Mabel was part of an international robotics winning team, Falcon Robotics. For her leadership and involvement, Mabel was awarded the Paul Allaire Medallion; award given to only one student from the world champion team. Do to the various achievements and awards; Mabel was able to get a full ride to Arizona State University.
At ASU, Mabel got the opportunity to become politically active in the DREAM Act movement. She was one of the first members of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. There she participated in marches, fundraisers, vigils, and other political movements. During that time, Mabel also volunteered her time as a Spanish Medical Interpreter for the Wesley Clinic; a clinic ran by medical students to help low income families.
After college, Mabel started tutoring all subjects for K – College students. It was then when she decided to partner with Melchor and Ingrid to start Building Dreams. Building Dreams is an organization that exposes children to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). For the past three years, Mabel has been involved with teaching robotics and has taken teams to participate in FIRST Robotics Competition. The organization has been very successful and has managed to take teams 2 out of the 3 years teams have competed to state.
Mabel hopes to continue working in the development of nonprofit STEM organizations. Outside of work and robotics, Mabel enjoys traveling, hiking, and taking pictures. She is a dreamer in every aspect and has a passion for education and technology.
Ingrid Tay, Microchip Technologies, Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League Arizona
Ingrid Tay attended Carl Hayden High School where she was involved in numerous clubs/programs including the Aguila Leadership Institute, National Honors Society and the Falcon Robotics Team.
She was part of the team that presented in front of a panel of judges and helped win the most prestigious award in the Worldwide FIRST Robotics Competition, the Chairman’s Award.
Ingrid graduated salutatorian of her class and received enough funding through private academic scholarships to attend Arizona State University. While at ASU she continued being involved in student organizations including Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society, STEP Multicultural Honor Society, Society of Women Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Engineers among others.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) with Magna Cum Laude honors. In 2013 she co-founded Building Dreams, an organization that introduces children to robotics and engineering. Ingrid along with the children of the Building Dreams program were featured in the Underwater Dreams documentary that received national attention.
Currently Ingrid, continues to be involved in her community and frequently volunteers at various robotics competitions throughout the state. She is the South Mountain Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League here in Arizona where she is in charge of putting together a one day robotics event for about 32 robotics teams for children in grades 4 through 8th. Ingrid works at Microchip Technology and is currently working with the Wireless Team developing Bluetooth Low Energy content for their customers.
Alexandra Figueroa, General Motors Lead Sr. Software Developer, Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona Lead
Alexandra Figueroa is currently a Lead Senior Software Developer for the Manufacturing Engineering IT team at General Motors Corporation. Alexandra’s responsibilities include design, developing, testing and implementing new software engineer solutions to the different applications that support manufacturing facilities through the world.
Alexandra is also responsible in helping leading junior developers technically as well as performing any coding reviews for the quality of the applications being build. Alexa She is the founder of the Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona, an employee resource group within General Motors. Her leadership has contributed in establishing a good connection with the community in the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. As part of this role, Alexandra has led program opportunities to the Tempe High School that focuses on helping create awareness to the students about Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM).
Alexandra’s goal is to continue to give back to the community, to help the next generation as much as possible, being an example to our Hispanic/Latino community and to continue to create great relationships with the community. Alexandra currently lives in Tempe, Arizona with her amazing husband of 15 years.
Marcos Garciaacosta Jr., Mechanical Engineer Student, Metron Scientific Solutions, State Technology and Manufacturing, NASA/JPL
Marcos Garciaacosta Jr. is a soon-to-be graduated mechanical engineer with a passion for making and STEM. Marcos was exposed at a young age to many different engineering events and activities, the most impactful activity being the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Marcos competed in FRC for his 4 years of high school with the Seton Catholic Sentinels. Up until his senior year of high school, Marcos still thought that a career in STEM was out of reach. Surrounded by mentors from Boeing, Microsoft, and other local tech companies, he discovered a passion for designing, prototyping, and building robots.
Throughout his college career, Marcos has worked on implementing what he has learned in his engineering classes to solve real world design problems, like designing autonomous underwater robots. Marcos has also gone back and mentored FRC teams. He currently mentors Team 5465 The BinaryBots working out of Techshop in Chandler. Marcos has had several internships; NASA/JPL research internship on ASU’s Tempe campus assembling and creating parts for sensor arrays commissioned by NASA scientists, as a CAD designer for State Technology and Manufacturing designing parts for customers while also supervising fabrication of large assemblies, and most recently, working as a mechanical engineering intern at Metron Scientific Solutions, a defense contractor with a division that engineers unique solutions to challenging military problems. Marcos graduates in December and hopes to find work building robots for defense purposes.