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For Immediate Release

S.T.E.M.S. Program to Visit Yellowstone

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JULY 22, 2010 – More than 40 high school and college students from the South Texas Engineering, Math and Science Program at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will leave Saturday, July 24 for an educational trip to Yellowstone National Park.

S.T.E.M.S. Program to Visit Yellowstone

High school students from S.T.E.M.S. programs in Harlingen, La Feria, Lasara and San Benito will make the trip. The UTB/TSC students are program mentors and will guide the high school students on the trip.

“It’s a famous place and I want to learn,” said Oasis Hernandez, 14, of Harlingen who attended Coakley Middle School in Harlingen and will be a freshman this fall at the South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes. “I think it’s more fun to be outside.”

While at Yellowstone the group will hike and visit the Old Faithful geyser and Mammoth Hot Springs. The group will experience many natural wonders and might see bears, bald eagles and wolves during their adventure.

“I am looking forward to seeing a wide variety of animals and the looks on the kids faces when they see the animals,” said Isidro Montemayor, 21, a UTB/TSC sophomore environmental science major and a program mentor from San Benito.

The S.T.E.M.S. Program began in 1989 and partners with area school districts to boost interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Many students that are part of the program in high school eventually join the university-level program as they select their majors.

S.T.E.M.S. Program to Visit Yellowstone

“The S.T.E.M.S. mentors, many of them former S.T.E.M.S. high school students from throughout the Rio Grande Valley, are always giving back to our program,” said Program Coordinator Javier Garcia. “These mentors went to Yellowstone last year, and now they have coordinated this nine-day science field experience for youth this year. They have designed science activities which will make it a lifetime experience these youth will never forget.”

For Holly Butler, 15, a 10th grade student at La Feria High School in La Feria, said the Yellowstone trip will be her first time outside of Texas. She said she would miss her cell phone and the family’s black cat named Shark Bait.

“I want to learn about nature itself,” said Butler. “I love nature. I love the photography of nature.”

The high school participants will also learn how to set up tents, light fires and cook outdoors.

“He will learn how to be independent,” said Hernandez’s mother, Claudia Hernandez, 40, of Harlingen. “It’s his first trip away. I want him to learn how to work with other students and learn from each other and share ideas and for him to get enriched and move forward.”

Students have been given a packing list that includes socks, raincoats, sunscreen, soap, backpacks and towels.

“Some of the students are indoor kids, and they are not used to being without the iPod, iPhone technology,” said Montemayor. “We want them to get to know each other.”

The group will depart the Rio Grande Valley in vans on Saturday, July 24 and stop for the night at Caprock Canyon State Park in Quitaque in Briscoe County, Texas. The group will then travel Sunday, July 25 and stay the night at Chatfield State Park in Littleton, Colo. The students and adult chaperones will arrive Monday, July 26 at Yellowstone. The group will return to the Rio Grande Valley on Sunday, Aug. 1.

The S.T.E.M.S. Program has had mentor and high school trips in past years to Rancho del Cielo in Mexico and the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains.

For more information on the S.T.E.M.S. Program, call Program Coordinator Javier Garcia at (956) 882-5058.


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