The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is preparing for the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week. Now in its 17th year, this award-winning program is organized by the UTRGV Office of Community Relations and promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to students and people of all ages.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 1, thousands of elementary, middle and high school students, educators and parents will converge at the UTRGV campuses to hear from nationally renowned speakers, participate in interactive educational exhibits, and compete in dynamic robotics competitions.

Two speakers will address students during HESTEC Week.

·         Dr. Kate Biberdorf, known as “Kate the Chemist,” is a professor and director of Demonstrations and Outreach at the University of Texas at Austin. She uses explosive demonstrations to spark interest in undergraduate chemistry students.


·         Dr. Derek Greenfield will speak on issues such as diversity and inclusion, motivation, team building, student development, innovative pedagogy, and hip-hop culture.


This year, HESTEC introduces a new event called the HESTEC STEM + ME Expo. Geared to middle and high school students, the expo will feature exhibits, hands-on activities and demonstrations, opportunities for college tours, as well as networking opportunities with business and industry leaders. HESTEC also is reaching out to fourth- and fifth-grade students with two STEM + ME Expos tailored for that age group. The theme for STEM Expo Brownsville is Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences, while STEM fields will take center stage as the focus of STEM + ME Expo Edinburg.

Velinda Reyes, assistant vice president for Community Programs and Operations, said UTRGV reached out to schools across the Rio Grande Valley to invite them to visit the HESTEC STEM + ME Expos.

“We are excited to announce that all our STEM + ME Expos are completely filled to capacity. We expect over 5,000 students to attend and our hope is that they become inspired to pursue STEM careers, as well as, explore other career options made available through the partners and exhibitors participating,” Reyes said. “We are also excited to introduce new partnerships such as Workforce Solutions-Rio Grande Valley and the United States Air Force to our work.”

Workforce Solutions Rio Grande Valley is collaborating with HESTEC to bring the statewide initiative “Careers in Texas Industries,” where 3,500 high school students will have the opportunity to explore the region’s many industries and careers by networking with employers, and take campus tours at UTRGV.

“The Career and HESTEC STEM + ME Expo provides youths an opportunity to interact with employers representing some of the region’s in-demand industries,” said Frank Almaraz, CEO of Workforce Solutions. “Through these interactions, students are able to obtain valuable information that assists them in evaluating different career opportunities and pathways.”


HESTEC Week will culminate with the popular Community Day on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus from 4 to 9 p.m.

This free event will feature family friendly food vendors, activities, entertainment, and UTRGV colleges and departments will open their doors to showcase what they have to offer prospective students.  The night’s entertainment will close with local talent and Grammy award-winning Norteño/Tejano Grupo Solido.

The “Augmented Reality Experience” exhibit will also be open to the public. Community Day visitors will be able to explore and touch the untouchable while immersed in cinema-quality 3D environments, interacting with photo-realistic characters in real time from dinosaurs to killer whales.

Hosted by the UTRGV Office of Public Art in collaboration with HESTEC, the exhibit will be housed after HESTEC Week in the Visitors Center at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus through the month of October. Admission is free.

For a complete list of events during HESTEC Week, visit