GoSTEM at Georgia Tech Provides Latino Families with Community Service and Engaging Online Programming
Sep 14, 2020 | Atlanta, GA
The current pandemic has made many programs and groups rethink how they operate and provide services to their communities. In the last few months, GoSTEM has been making inroads into this issue by rethinking and redefining how it supports and offers programming to Latino families in Atlanta during this difficult time. As part of its community outreach, the program has launched a new virtual seminar series titled, "Family Talks/ Charlas en Familia." The series provides information and resources to Latino families from community members and experts. It is an opportunity to share positive practices, advice, and tips on various educational topics. The series aims to increase support to the Latino community, which is disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
The inaugural workshop by Georgia Tech interactive computing doctoral candidate, Lucia Marisol Villacres Falconi, focused on a group of Hispanic parents' technology experience. Falconi shared how they use technology effectively to support their families' well-being.
Future events will focus on family and educational topics such as strategies to manage stress, college admission, and STEM careers available to Latino college-bound students. More information about these GoSTEM events is available here.
"The 'Charlas en Familia' provide a forum for the Latino community to address their unique challenges and find the resources needed to support one another and thrive. These Charlas are organized with the community needs in mind and delivered in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. That is what makes this program so meaningful and empowering," said Analía Rao, a CEISMC research associate at Georgia Tech.
To bring STEM out of the virtual space and into Latino families' homes, GoSTEM is also working with other Atlanta organizations to bring educational STEM activities into food drives. On Saturday, July 25, 2020, the program collaborated with the Latin American Association (LAA), Telemundo Atlanta, Plaza Fiesta, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank at the 6ta Entrega de Comida or 6th Food Drive held at Plaza Fiesta near Brookhaven and Chamblee. As part of the event, GoSTEM donated 1,000 bilingual Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational activity kits to families. Georgia Institute of Technology students and long-term GoSTEM mentors, Ana Garcia and Ben Franco, volunteered by distributing the kits they assisted in compiling. "Putting the kits together took time, yet Ben and I knew that the outcome would be fantastic," said Garcia. According to the LAA, the event served 1,300 Latino families impacted by COVID-19. The effort distributed over 50,000 pounds of food and needed school and educational supplies.
GoSTEM has also been extending its programming within Georgia Tech. "One of GoSTEM's most important missions is to inspire Latino/Hispanic students at all levels of their academic careers to become the next generation of STEM scientists and experts," said Diley Hernandez, GoSTEM program director and senior research scientist at CEISMC. As part of this goal, GoSTEM is collaborating with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the Latino Organization of Graduate Students (LOGRAS) to launch a new seminar series.
The series titled "Latinos/Hispanics in STEM: A Career Path Series" will take place every first and third Tuesday of the month from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. starting in the fall. Distinguished speakers include Institute Provost, Rafael Bras on September 1, 2020, and Georgia Tech's President, Ángel Cabrera, on November 3, 2020.
"This series provides a platform for successful Latino/Hispanic heritage professionals to share their experience in various fields, including academia, private industry, and government," said Jorge Macedo, assistant professor at Georgia Tech CEE.