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Congressional delegation from Ohio takes in HESTEC first hand to replicate at home

A four-member delegation to HESTEC, shown here with HESTEC cofounder U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), were part of Monday’s Educator Day, after U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) visited HESTEC last year and knew it would be a an important program to get started in her own community. The delegation representing Fudge includes from left John Hairston, Patricia Faulkner, Pamela Smith, and La'Tice Lavert, all of whom are on a core committee to plan for a conference similar to HESTEC. (Courtesy Photo)

By Gail Fagan

EDINBURG, TEXAS – OCT. 3, 2016 – When U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) left as a visitor to last year’s HESTEC at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, she knew it would be a great initiative to replicate in her own community.

This year, Fudge, who represents the Cleveland-Akron area of Ohio and attended last year at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), sent a delegation from her district to HESTEC 2016 to learn more about the weeklong event.

“She (Fudge) was so taken aback and elated by what she saw, that she wanted to do it for our area,” said Pamela Smith, an educational consultant to Fudge and a member of the delegation from Ohio. “She talked so highly of it and said the best way to prepare for a similar conference is to go see it yourself.”

Fudge has served her district since 2008. Prior to that, she was the first female, and the first African American, mayor of Warrensville Heights.

The four-member delegation to HESTEC also includes a representative of Cuyahoga Community College, Ohio’s first and largest community college; a former District 13 director; and another educational consultant to Fudge. They are all on a core committee to plan for a conference similar to HESTEC. Each representative went to a different venue on Educator Day. Three members will stay and attend additional HESTEC activities through Thursday, Oct. 6.

Fudge intends to partner with Cuyahoga Community College, which is located in Cleveland, for the conference they are planning.

“We are at the point here where your university was when HESTEC was started,” Smith said. “Too few of our students are taking advantage of STEM opportunities.”

Smith said their conference, which they hope will be in March, will be called NEO STREAM (Northeast Ohio Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

She said it will start on a much smaller scale than HESTEC, which she called an amazing conference.

“It is a tremendous opportunity for the educators, superintendents, the corporate world,” she said. “I’ve read about it but, seeing it, it is hard to describe. It gives me chills to see how much has occurred because of the vision of the people who started this. The results they have achieved are laudable.”

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