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HESTEC to bring new attractions; keep staple events

October 1, 2018

For the past 17 years, the first weekday of October at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley means Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology, or HESTEC week is underway.

HESTEC exists to provide opportunities for students across the Valley to be exposed to careers in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM. Each year the university finds new ways to reach that goal, while keeping fan-favorite activities.

For the past few years, HESTEC week starts off strong on Monday, designated as “Robotics Day.” This year, 35 middle school and high school students from across the Valley and as far as Laredo will compete to see who’s Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot stands the test.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday the UTRGV Edinburg Campus Fieldhouse will host the HESTEC STEM + ME Expo, a new event held in collaboration with Workforce Solutions Rio Grande Valley. The expo, which will be held in Brownsville at the same time on Tuesday, will be seen by more than 3,000 high school students and is a part of a state-wide initiative to promote “Careers in Texas Industries.”

Though HESTEC originated at legacy institution University of Texas - Pan American in Edinburg, since the inception of UTRGV, the weeklong event has stretched to include events in Harlingen and Brownsville as well.

On Friday, the Brownsville ISD Margaret Clark Aquatic Center will host the U.S. Navy SeaPerch Challenge, an aquatic robotics competition where robots built by Valley high school students race and navigate underwater obstacle courses. Thirty-five schools are set to compete, including Harlingen High School, the reigning champion for the past two years.

Perhaps the most iconic HESTEC staple is Community Day, happening on Saturday on the Edinburg Campus from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. As always, the event is free and features food, entertainment, activities and other family friendly attractions.

This year, those attending Community Day will also have the opportunity to experience an “Augmented Reality” experience.

Visitors can “explore and touch the untouchable,” as described in a UTRGV press release, while being immersed in cinema-quality 3D environments. They’ll be able to interact with realistic characters, such as dinosaurs and killer whales, in real time.

The exhibit will open to the public at Community Day and will be housed after HESTEC week in the Visitors Center at the UTRGV Edinburg campus throughout the month of October.

For a complete list of HESTEC events, visit www.utrgv.edu/hestec.

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