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October 29, 2014

NJ Revilla-Garcia

HACU creates task force to help increase Hispanic participation in STEM

A task force to help increase Hispanic participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been formed by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores announced the formation of the task force at the end of last year and says the decision arose based on the need to address the persisting underrepresentation of Hispanics in STEM fields.

The HACU STEM Task Force held its first meeting on October, 7, 2014, following the HACU Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. Flores opened the meeting by defining the charge of the Task Force: to develop key policy and legislative recommendations that will advance Latino STEM education both in higher education and in K-12 and to develop an inventory of best practices that have proven effective in supporting the recruitment, persistence, graduation, and employment of Latinos in STEM fields.

Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University, chaired the discussion that followed. This first meeting provided an opportunity for the members of the Task Force to share issues that will call for further exploration and to alert the group to similar efforts with which the group needs to connect in order to avoid duplication.  

The HACU STEM Task Force represents a wide range of institutions from across the country as well as the broad spectrum of STEM disciplines:

  • Mark B. Rosenberg, president, Florida International University (chair)
  • Rita Cepeda, chancellor, San José/Evergreen Community College District (co-chair)
  • John Alderete, professor and associate director of outreach and development, School of Molecular Biosciences,   Washington State University (microbiology)
  • José Manuel Cabrera Sixto, rector general, Universidad de Guanajuato (agricultural engineering)
  • Benjamin C. Flores, director of UT System, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the University of Texas at El Paso (electrical engineering)
  • Dana García, professor and associate chair of Biology, Texas State University (physiology)
  • Jim Gentile, former dean of the natural and applied sciences, Hope College (biology)
  • Sharon Hahs, president, Northeastern Illinois University (inorganic chemistry)
  • Emir José Macari, former dean, engineering and computer science, California State University Sacramento (civil engineering-geomechanics)
  • Gabriel A. Montaño, president of SACNAS and scientist at the Scientific Integrated Nanotechnologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory (molecular cell biology)
  • Cordelia Ontiveros, associate dean for academic programs & student services, College of Engineering, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (chemical engineering)
  • Sonia Pabán, associate professor of physics, University of Texas at Austin (physics)
  • Orlando Taylor, president and professor, International Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC Campus (education)
  • Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho, president, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Ponce (management science)

The Task Force is envisioned to meet three more times over the next year and half to finalize its recommendations. Future meetings are being planned for March 2015 in Washington, DC, October 2015 in Miami, FL and March 2016, in Washington, DC.