By 2050, Latinos will comprise a third of the U.S. population and over a quarter of the millennial generation that will soon make up the majority of the workforce. Yet in spite of these projections, Hispanics continue to be underrepresented when it comes to in-demand STEM professions. What can we do to reverse this trend and advance Hispanic progress in STEM fields? How can we best prepare Hispanic Millennials and future generations for careers in these growing industries?
Scheduled to take place during the early days of Hispanic Heritage Month 2014, this National Journal and The Atlantic event, underwritten by Microsoft, will feature a keynote and panel discussion moderated by Atlantic Media's editorial director, Ron Brownstein. We will convene experts on education and policy, as well as leaders in the Hispanic community, to spark dialogue around the social barriers to progress and the next steps toward making STEM careers fully accessible to Hispanic Millennials.
Dr. Bras is the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He holds the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair
Prior to becoming provost, Dr. Bras was Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering of the University of California, Irvine. For 32 years prior to joining UCI he was a professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. He is past Chair of the MIT Faculty, former head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and Director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory at MIT. He has served as advisor to many government and private institutions. Some of the most significant ones include: Advisory Board, Engineering Directorate, NSF; Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council; Chairman, Earth Systems Sciences and Applications Committee of NASA and the NASA Advisory Committee; National Academy of Sciences Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects; Advisory to departments at Cornell university, Princeton university, Johns Hopkins, Technion, RPI, University of Puerto Rico; University of California-Irvine; Fundacion Chile; Instituto Veneto; Stockholm Water Foundation and Prize; Clarke prize. He is a director of the American Geophysical Union and a former member of the UCI Foundation.
Dr. Bras has been very active in several professional organizations. He is past president of the Hydrology section of AGU and is presently a member of its Board of Directors. Dr. Bras has received many honors and awards. These include: honorary degree for the University of Perugia, Italy, Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame member, NASA Public Service Medal, the Macelwane Medal of AGU, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award, Honorary Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, Horton Medal of AGU, AGU Hydrology Days Award, and Drexel University’s 2010 Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, and corresponding member of the Mexican National Academy of Engineering. He is ALSO an elected Fellow of AGU, ASCE, AMS and AAAS.
Dr. Bras maintains an active international consulting practice. Presently he chairs a panel of experts that supervises the design and construction of a multibillion-dollar project to protect the City of Venice from floods.
Dr. Bras has published two textbooks, over 180 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications and presentations.
Ronald Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns, is Atlantic Media's Editorial Director for Strategic Partnerships, in charge of long-term editorial strategy. He also writes a weekly column and regularly contributes other pieces for the National Journal, contributes to Quartz, and The Atlantic, and coordinates political coverage and activities across publications produced by Atlantic Media.
Raised by hard-working immigrant parents, Tony Cárdenas was brought up with simple ideals – that integrity and dedication were the keys to success. These are the qualities that he has brought to his 16 year career as a public servant for the people of the North East San Fernando Valley, and that he continues to offer today as a United States Congressman.
Cárdenas was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1996. He went on to serve three terms in the assembly and was later elected to the Los Angeles City Council, in 2003. An engineering degree, and a business background, prepared him for the day-to-day duties of an elected official and his experience has allowed him to find practical and realistic solutions to difficult problems. Born in Pacoima, Cárdenas was raised with ten brothers and sisters and still resides in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, Norma, and their children.
As a state legislator, Cárdenas focused on ensuring that his community received the programs and services they needed, while he made sure the state’s finances were managed responsibly. As Chair of the State Assembly’s powerful Budget Committee, Cárdenas oversaw the most robust reserve budget in the history of California. His state reforms brought 78,000 new classroom seats to Los Angeles, as well as 15 universal playgrounds throughout the city. He also secured more than $650 million for new school construction in Los Angeles to help relieve overcrowded classrooms.
It was in the Assembly, that Cárdenas began working on juvenile justice issues. His state legislation included the overhaul of California’s gang prevention and intervention programs, with the passage of the Schiff-Cárdenas Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act. He brought his passion for juvenile justice to the Los Angeles City Council. As Chair of the City’s Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, Cardenas identified millions of dollars overlooked by the City to help keep kids off the streets, and reduced crime while reducing expenditures on crime abatement programs.
As Vice Chair of the City’s Public Safety Committee, Cárdenas spearheaded the most comprehensive gang intervention model in the country. The Community-Based Gang Intervention Model standardized and defined the methods used by gang intervention workers to help stop violence in some of LA’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
In 2012, Cárdenas also passed landmark amendments to the City’s daytime curfew ordinance. The new policy eliminated costly fines, of up to $500 that students were facing. It also reduced lengthy court visits for parents and students, and gave students the opportunity to do community service to eliminate their citations.
As an animal rights advocate, Cárdenas also created Los Angeles’ first Animal Cruelty Task Force which, for the first time, targeted animal abuse city-wide. One of the task force’s first felony convictions put a known gang member away for three years for abusing a family pet. Cárdenas also co-authored the City’s mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, helping Los Angeles become the largest no-kill city in the country. Cárdenas also launched the city’s first Task Force on Human Trafficking and Child Prostitution, addressing an often overlooked crime. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 14,000 to 18,000 people are trafficked into the country annually in Los Angeles.
Attacking persistent blight in his community, Cárdenas launched district and city-wide efforts to improve the environment. Community clean-ups in his district collected more than 56,000 tons of trash and bulky items during his tenure and Cárdenas added more than 100 acres of new park. Cárdenas demanded that L.A.’s Department of Water and Power establish its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, laying out specific goals and timelines for their use of clean energy. And he consistently drafted and supported green energy legislation including his plan to convert the City’s taxi fleet to fuel efficient vehicles.
After 16 years in public office, Cárdenas has made history, becoming the first Latino elected to represent the San Fernando Valley in our United States Congress. He will continue his passionate commitment to the community in this new capacity. He currently sits on the House of Representatives Natural Resources and Budget, and Oversight and Government Reform committees.
Alejandra Ceja was appointed by the White House on May 6, 2013, to serve the president and secretary of education as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
As America’s largest and fastest-growing minority group, Latinos represent more than 11 million students in U.S. public schools, constituting more than 22 percent of all pre-K–12 students. Ceja will work closely with the Latino community and the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics to implement the goals and deliverables under Executive Order 13555, by which President Barack Obama renewed the initiative, and better align the work of the initiative with the Department’s cradle-to-career agenda.
For the three-and-one-half years prior to assuming this position, Ceja served as the chief of staff to Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter. In that role, Ceja was instrumental in managing the under secretary’s personnel, budget and associated operations, including the operations of six White House initiatives, to support the president’s 2020 goal, what Secretary of Education Duncan calls the nation’s “North Star”: The United States will attain the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Prior to joining the Department, Ceja served as the senior budget and appropriations advisor for the House Committee on Education and Labor, chaired by Congressman George Miller. There, she drafted legislation in support of national service reauthorization—the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act—and worked on policy issues related to child nutrition, English language learners, migrants, Impact Aid and appropriations. From 1999 to 2007, Ceja was a program examiner for the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she helped formulate the federal budget for the Department of Labor and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Ceja has also worked for the Indianapolis Private Industry Council and with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard in her Washington, D.C., office.
A native of Huntington Park, Calif., Ceja holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College at the City University of New York. She is a graduate of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Fellowship, the Presidential Management Fellows program, the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the National Urban Fellows program.
Cecilia Muñoz is the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House.
Deborah A. Santiago is the co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Policy at Excelencia in Education. For more than 15 years, she has led research and policy efforts from the community to national and federal levels to improve educational opportunities and success for all students. Her current work focuses on federal and state policy, financial aid, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and effective institutional practices for student success in higher education. She has been cited in numerous publications for her work, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Deborah serves on the board of the National Student Clearinghouse, National Hispanic University, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and the advisory board of Univision’s Education Campaign.
Renetta Garrison Tull
Renetta Garrison Tull, Ph.D., is the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.