On Friday Nov. 15, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held a dinner to thank sponsors of the STEM Expo that took place Nov. 14. The STEM Expo set out to encourage young students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math in San Antonio.

The President of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ramiro Cavazos, promoted the power of education. Cavazos said, “Education is freedom to do whatever you want in life and the freedom to make choices.”

Cavazos said 65 percent of future jobs will be knowledge-based; STEM fields are a prerequisite for any high-paying job.

Another way STEM is promulgating itself within San Antonio is through ROTC. Major General Charles Rodriguez, part of the Texas A&M San Antonio ROTC, defined education as a “game changer.” Rodriguez also stated that a STEM education can provide a job that has a decent living wage and opportunities to advance.

While an education is important for success, former astronaut Jose Hernandez said that just an education could only get students so far.

Hernandez was born into a family of migrant farm workers; he was also a farm worker during his younger years. His father only got as far as the third grade. When Hernandez told his father that his dream was to be an astronaut, Hernandez’s father sat him down at the kitchen table and told him he believed he could make it.

Years after the conversation with his father, Jose completed graduate school and was accepted into astronaut training at NASA. After twelve attempts and learning Russian, Jose was accepted and soon began his career as an astronaut. Hernandez describes his story as ordinary, that what happened to him can happen to anyone. Hernandez says that perseverance is important, but the foundation of Hernandez’s success was his education.

Mayor Julian Castro, who declared a STEM week in San Antonio, supported the importance of STEM. His twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro, also sponsored the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and STEM week.

Hernandez and the Castros believe that a STEM education can increase the possibility for stability in youth of all different cultural and monetary backgrounds.

General Charles Rodriguez stated, “long gone are the days that you can get a job in the factory just because your father worked there, now any job that has a good wage will be gained through the amount of education you have.”

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