September 17, 2013
Minorities in STEAM is open to students majoring in science, technology, engineering, agriculture or mathematics.
When she came to Texas Tech University as an undergraduate student Lyda G. Garcia was overwhelmed by the large community and size of campus.
Now Garcia is back as a visiting professor in the animal and food science department, and has started a new organization, Minorities in STEAM to help students who may feel the same way.
“I always told myself that if I ever had the chance, I would mentor a group of students that come from afar in hopes to bring comfort to the table,” said Garcia, a South Texas native from Hebbronville.
Minorities in STEAM is an organization promoting the success of minority students pursuing careers and degrees in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics. The organization is the first in the country of its kind and Garcia hopes it will one day become nationally recognized.
“My job is to serve; to guide and mentor students down the path they best fit,” said Garcia, faculty advisor for Minorities in STEAM. “Let’s be real, with our changing demographics, it only makes sense to educate our future. The need for educated, bilingual minority students in the agricultural industry is in demand and is continuously growing.”
Students were inspired to create the organization while attending a Latinos in Agriculture conference last year. Garcia said students are really the heart of the organization.
“I have learned from being an active member that we all come from different areas and backgrounds, but we are all here for one reason, to further our education in a field we are passionate about,” said Donna Balderas, a senior animal science major from Balmorhea and president of Minorities in STEAM.
The organization also had helped Garcia to connect students with potential employers. She said the need for these minority students in the agriculture industry, is growing.
“I’m constantly on the phone with companies seeking minority students who are bilingual and educated,” Garcia said. “With this official organization it will be easier for me to find students to refer for jobs.”
Minorities in STEAM is open to students majoring in either science, technology, engineering agriculture or mathematics.
“Whether you’re from a city or a small town, if you don’t know anyone on campus or the surrounding area, it can make someone feel small,” Balderas said. “I want to help out that student, so they realize the possibilities here at Texas Tech are endless and they are not alone.”