UTRGV is celebrating the 16th anniversary of HESTEC – Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology Week – which runs Oct. 1-7, 2017.

Thousands of middle and high school students, educators and parents will visit UTRGV campuses for presentations by world-renowned speakers and interactive educational exhibits, and to take part in dynamic robotics competitions and more.

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 - Legislators Reception and Awards Dinner

6 p.m. University Ballroom, UTRGV Edinburg Campus
Dr. Tina Atkins, longtime educator (recently retired) and administrator for the Center for Excellence in College, Career and Life Readiness at Region One Education Service Center, will be honored for her many years of service with the Rubén Hinojosa “Champions in Engineering and Science Advancement” (CIENCIA) Award.

Congressmen Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, along with former U.S. Congressmen Rubén Hinojosa, will present the award to Atkins. Hinojosa was recipient of the first CIENCA award, bestowed in 2016.

Cuellar and Gonzalez will be available for interviews from 5:30-6 p.m. in the Visitors Center.

Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 - Educator Day

7:30 p.m.-4:30 pm. University Ballroom, UTRGV Edinburg Campus

11:45 a.m. - Steven Ritz, Green BronxMachine: Originally an after-school, alternative program for high school students, Green Bronx Machine has evolved into a K-12+ model fully integrated into core curriculum. Lifelong educator Steven Ritz will speak about how students grow, eat and love their vegetables en route to spectacular academic performance.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 - Student Leadership Day

8 a.m. -2 p.m. Field House, UTRGV Edinburg Campus
Audience: 600 students, their chaperones, sponsors

12:50 p.m. Keynote Presentation by Grand Hank, the Hip Hop Scientist.
A former research chemist for Johnson & Johnson, Tyraine Ragsdale (a.k.a. Grand Hank) is the founder and president of Grand Hank Productions, Incorporated (GHPI), a multimedia education company. Since founding GHPI in 1989, Grand Hank has had a profound impact on STEM education, reaching more than 10 million students, parents and teachers globally. He has visited more than 25 cities across the United States, exposing students to STEM and energy career opportunities.

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 - Latina Day

8 a.m. -2 p.m. Field House, UTRGV Edinburg Canmpus
Audience: 600 female students and their mothers

2:30 p.m.        Special Presentation, “Communication & Networking,” by Sarah Sagredo-Hammond, Atlas RGV, and Cristina Solis-Wilson, CM Institute of Leadership

1 p.m.              Special Presentation by Bridgett Krause, The John Maxwell Team

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017- Robotics Day

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Jacob Brown Auditorium, Brownsville
Audience: Teams of middle and high school students

Fifty-five energy-filled middle and high school teams from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and from as far as Laredo will compete in Robotics Day. Each team will build a robot to weight and size specifications using Lego Mindstorms EV3.

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 - U.S. Navy SeaPerch Challenge

8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Harlingen CISD’s Aquatics Center
Audience: Students from high schools are pre-identified by the U.S. Navy for their existing ROTC program.

A total of 35 teams will compete in this regional competition, which draws schools from across the Rio Grande Valley. Teams have four to five members and are judged on their robot’s design, as well as the accuracy of their aquatic robots in navigating underwater obstacle courses.

Manny Vela, chief executive officer and president of Valley Baptist Health System Inc. will deliver remarks to the students at 12:05 p.m.


  • First HESTEC Scholars Announced: Eight UTRGV students will receive first-ever scholarships, as part of the HESTEC Scholars Program. This new initiative was created in 2016 to mark the 15th anniversary of the HESTEC program. Recipients are recent graduates of the GEAR UP program and have committed to a STEM field of study at UTRGV. Wells Fargo provided some of the funding for this scholarship.
  • MAYA, Hidden Worlds Revealed: This remarkable exhibit, created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, gives the community a unique opportunity to discover a lost civilization. The ancient Maya are one of the most complex and advanced civilizations of the ancient world, known for their monumental architecture, distinctive art and intricate knowledge of astronomy and time. Encounter the richness of Mayan culture by examining authentic artifacts, traditions, discoveries and world views. 

HESTEC Community Day festival on Saturday to feature live music, info booths, food, hands-on activities

EDINBURG, TEXAS – OCT. 3, 2017 – Community Day, the final event of UTRGV’s HESTEC Week 2017, is from 4 – 10 p.m. Saturday on the Edinburg Campus.

The entire Rio Grande Valley community is invited to the festival, which is free and features family friendly activities, learning opportunities, entertainment and more.

Musical performances will be by Del Castillo, Retoño, Matt and the Herdsmen, and Mariachi Aztlán.


  • UTRGV colleges and departments will open up their doors to showcase what they have to offer prospective students.
  • Information and activity booths by corporate, federal and university partners, at the Fieldhouse.
  • Student organization booths will sell food and have activities.
  • Interactive educational exhibits: Each will have hands-on, STEM-related activities, from space science to engineering.
  • Visitors can see the “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” exhibit.
  • Attend the “Peter and the Wolf” play.
  • Enjoy the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz virtual reality experience.
  • Participate in a musical petting zoo.

This is the 16th anniversary of HESTEC – Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology Week, which began on Sunday, Oct. 1.

Thousands of middle and high school students, educators and parents visited the UTRGV campuses during the week-long celebration designed to promote STEM careers.


4 - 4:05 p.m.                   Welcome

4:05 - 4:35 p.m.               Performance by UTRGV Mariachi Aztlán

4:45 - 5:30 p.m.               Performance by Eddie Saenz

5:40 - 6:25 p.m.               Presentation of Matt & The Herdsmen

6:25 - 6:40 p.m.               Remarks

6:45 - 8:15 p.m.               Performance by Retoño

8:30 - 10 p.m.                  Performance by Del Castillo


UTRGV Community Relations Liaison, (956) 882-6535 (956) or 832-3373 (cell)

UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications 956-665-2742