Navy Participates in STEM Event at Rio Grande Valley Campus

Burrell Parmer, Navy Recruiting Command



EDINBURG, Texas — Sailors and support personnel of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio, Navy City Outreach Southwest Region and the Navy's diversity office participated Oct. 3 and 4 in Student Leadership Day and Latina Day during this week's observance of Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week on the campus of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

The educational conference features events geared toward promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education to people of all ages and backgrounds.

During two Student Leadership Day breakout sessions, Lt. Andrew Descrary of the  Navy Civil Engineering Corps and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Toth of Navy Recruiting Station McAllen -- an electrician's mate nuclear -- briefed and discussed the 15 military leadership traits.

"It’s important for students to learn and understand leadership," said Descary, a native of Bakersfield, California. "It will instill those qualities that every leader needs to be successful, not just in the Navy, but abroad in the world."

Exposure to Different Environments

Monica Longoria, a teacher at Business, Education and Technology Academy High School, said she believes it is important for students attending the week's events to be exposed to different environments.

"I believe that giving students the opportunity to expand their knowledge in the areas of STEM is beneficial," she said. "Student Leadership Day helps reminds us that our students are potential leaders. The leadership characteristics briefed to the students by the sailors are those expected by any organization in the world."

Latina Day was held Oct. 4 to celebrate and promote women in the STEM fields. Hundreds of young Latinas from throughout South Texas were brought together to hear the inspiring stories of prominent women of all colors succeeding in careers and job tracks once exclusive to men.

Houston native Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City Outreach Southwest -- along with Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, a logistics specialist; Petty Officer 2nd Class Karen Quepons, an interior communications electrician; and Petty Officer 2nd Class Brianna Crayton, a quartermaster, all from Navy Recruiting District San Antonio -- discussed grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy.

They also served as role models to inspire young Latinas to pursue a career in the STEM fields.

Claudia Cortez, an engineering teacher at Gladys Porter High School in Brownsville, Texas, had attended the conference as a student and now as a teacher.

Great Opportunity

"This was a great opportunity for the girls to be exposed to careers that are in the Navy," Cortez said. "It is good for them to see that there are females in the Navy and that they can have a career in the Navy just as the men."

Cortez noted that the culture is in the Rio Grande Valley is family oriented.

"There are many that wish to stay close to their families and their communities," she said, "but having these sessions with the Navy and other organizations provides them insight to explore opportunities outside the valley."

Through the support of sponsors and partners, including the Navy, Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week strives to empower teachers and administrators with the resources to inspire their students to pursue STEM careers through Educators Day, Student Leadership Day, Latina Day, Robotics Day, the Middle School Challenge, and the Navy’s SeaPerch Challenge Competition.

Additionally, during the Fall Career Expo, university students will be provided with employment and internship opportunities, and the community as a whole will partake in Community Day.

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