Skip to main content


UH MAES Students Connect and Compete at National Symposium
Winning photo in the Picture Perfect contest at 2011 MAES Symposium
Winning photo in the Picture Perfect contest at 2011 MAES Symposium

The UH chapter of the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) received several awards at the 37th Annual National MAES Symposium last month in Oakland, Calif., including first place in the College Decathlon. The four-day conference drew over 1500 students from all over the country in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, for academic and professional advancement.

This year’s symposium offered a range of activities, including a career and graduate school fair, a speed networking breakfast, and a professional training series, all designed to develop the skills needed to succeed as a professional in STEM fields.

Twenty students from UH attended the symposium, including Kim Pham, a senior civil engineering major and the secretary of UH MAES. “We were able to tour the city, and we had dinner with attendees from all schools during a welcome reception on the USS Hornet,” she said.

Kim found the career networking opportunities to be one of the most valuable components of the symposium. “At the speed networking breakfast, we spoke with each company representative, and switched every 15 minutes,” she said. Participating exhibitors included the US Navy, Exxon, Lockheed Martin, BP, Raytheon, and EPA.

The UH MAES chapter won first place in the College Decathlon, its second consecutive win. Ten events, including a 20-question STEM fundamentals exam, industry commercial, résumé competition, and poster contest placed the UH team at the top. Ivan Castro ’08, a graduate of the UH industrial engineering program, served as the group’s company mentor from Exxon, and helped them to organize their ideas into a winning presentation. UH decathlon winners received iPads for their outstanding efforts.

“The decathlon is one of the bright spots of the symposium,” said Ben Mellado, a civil engineering senior and UH MAES pre-college coordinator. “It’s really fun, hands-on, and really fast. You have deadlines, so it’s very competitive.” Ben has attended the MAES symposium for the last six years, and has gained much, academically and professionally. “There’s a lot of opportunity for students to benefit here,” he said.

Share This Story: