A Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The MIT Chapter, founded in 1997, was the first MAES Student Chapter on the East Coast of the United States. The MIT Chapter has grown tremendously from its humble roots. Below comprehensive description of MAES History along with some more information on the organization.
Table of Contents1.0 Background on MAES
1.1 Mission of MAES
1.3 Professional Chapters
1.4 University College Student Chapters
1.5 MAES Industry Advisory Council (IAC)
1.6 PACES Program
1.7 National Conferences
1.8 Recognition Awards
1.9 Scholarship Program
2.0 Contacting MAES
1.0 Background on the Society of MAES
MAES was founded in Los Angeles in 1974 to increase the number of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in the technical and scientific fields.
The idea to establish a professional society for Mexican American engineers originated with Robert Von Hatten, an aerospace electronics engineer with TRW Defense Space Systems in Redondo Beach, California. Mr. Von Hatten had for several years served as volunteer for programs directed at combating the alarming number of high school dropouts. He envisioned a national organization that would serve as a source for role models, address of the needs of its members, and become a resource for industry and students.
In mid–1974, Mr. Von Hatten contacted Manuel Castro to join him in the campaign to form the professional organization. During a subsequent series of meetings, a cohort of individuals banded together to lay out the foundation for the “Mexican American Engineering Society.” The founders, listed below, drafted the articles of incorporation and the first bylaws of the society.
- Oscar Buttner – Rockwell International
- Sam Buttner – Southern California Edison
- Manuel Castro – Bechtel Power
- Clifford Maldonado – Northrop Corporation
- Sam Mendoza – California State University, Fullerton
- Frank Serna – Northrop Corporation
- Robert Von Hatten – TRW Defense Space Systems
The society filed incorporation papers as a nonprofit, tax exempt organization with the California Secretary of State in October 1974 and it received its charter on March 28, 1975. The Internal Revenue Service granted the society a federal tax–exemption letter and employer identification number on January 4, 1979. Ten years later, to reflect its broader technical membership, the organization filed to change its name to the “Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, Inc.”. This change was granted on July 19, 1989.
MAES is one of several membership–based organizations that represent Latinos in engineering and science. As a mature organization with over 30 years of experience addressing the concerns of Latinos, MAES is a source of expertise on barriers to and methods for improving educational access and attainment. The society recognizes the importance of encouraging more youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a means for economic advancement and workforce development.
Many of its programs, with the financial help of members, companies, and government agencies are directed at increasing the number of students at all grade levels who will study, prepare, enter, and excel in the technical professions.
The primary mission of the Society is one of image development. Firstly, by projecting the positive image of our members through their accomplishments, MAES will achieve its underlying mission, which is to eradicate the stereotypic perception that society has had of Mexican Americans. Secondly, by providing a networking and nurturing environment to develop their professional image, its members have opportunities to develop and hone their leadership, communication, management and technical skills. The goals of MAES are to assist its members with:
Placement and recruitment
Promoting and recognizing achievements
Technical and professional meetings
National Symposium and technical presentations
Promoting science and engineering among students
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Eligibility for membership in the Society covers all the technical and scientific disciplines including computer science, mathematics, physics, science and other scientific fields including programming, project and technical staff, teachers, professors, managers and recruiters of technical manpower. Student membership in similar fields is also provided through university and college MAES Student Chapter charters.
The Society currently maintains professional chapters in major technological centers throughout the United States. Chapters are located in Texas (Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, College Station, Dallas); in California (Austin, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Southbay, Orange County, Alameda County); in New Mexico (Los Alamos, Las Cruces ); in Florida (Cape Canaveral); and in Washington DC. Membership includes several hundred professionals and several thousand students throughout the United States.
MAES has developed and established over thirty-six student chapters throughout the nation. These student chapters work closely with our professional chapters, national office and feeder high schools in implementing our local programs. They are the main interconnecting element that is helping MAES to build and fill the pipeline to channel Latino youth into the technical professional fields. All university and college chapter members are eligible to participate in our National Symposium and Career/Job Fairs. Where possible, MAES will fund as many students as funding allows for students to participate in scholarship and technical paper competitions and attend functions where they have opportunities to interact with recruiters, other students and professional members.
MAES has an Industry Advisory Council which provides the Society ongoing consultation, in-kind services to support student programs, financial support for the annual National Symposium and Career Fair and the annual National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC). The council is made up of managers and supervisors from corporate and government entities involved in university relations, college and professional recruitment, and workforce diversity. The IAC meets up to three times a year and works with the MAES board of directors to assist the organization in achieving its goals.
The Promotion and Awareness for Careers in Engineering and Science (PACES) program is a very successful MAES project which is sponsored by NASA and to which other corporations such as TRW, Southern California Edison and Pacific Bell have contributed. The program provides the means for university students to work with local high school students to motivate them to enter careers in engineering and science. Through high school visitations, MAES college student are able to talk to high school students about college campus experience, avenues for obtaining financial and the opportunities that will be available for those that graduate with degrees in engineering and science.
The Society holds an annual National Symposium and Career Fair conference on engineering and science in different cities throughout the country in January. The NS&CF event has been held each year since 1976 and has been very successful in helping raise funds for most of its programs. At this event, the Society features technical and education papers and workshops by nationally and internationally known leaders and technical experts, and the events have provided attendees surprising visibility to the many MAES professionals in industry and the type of work in which they are involved. The format of this national conference allows for many corporations and government agencies to interact with professionals and graduating seniors in all fields and disciplines of engineering and science. It is at this event also that student members can find full time positions and summer internships with our sponsors.
The Society also holds an annual National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) that provides an intensive program of leadership training, where MAES student members learn skills to improve leadership abilities and increase their effectiveness as MAES chapter officers. Many MAES NSLC graduates have gone on to establish themselves as leaders in the workplace as well, providing their employers the benefits of a skilled and motivated professional.
The MAES recognition awards were created to pay tribute to the contributions members, industry supporters and academia representatives have made to the growth of the Society, to the recruitment and utilization of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in industry, and to public service in our community. Science books tell us that when a tree falls in the forest, there is no sound unless someone is present to hear it. Likewise, awards for achievement are necessary for positive image building where the contributions of individuals can be witnessed. To accomplish this purpose at the national and local level the Society established the prestigious awards, the Medalla de Oro (Gold Medal) and the Medalla de Plata, respectively, which are presented each year to individuals selected from the ranks of our members and our industry and academia representatives. Recipients of these medals have a special duty that goes with the award. Each recipient also receives a major scholarship, called the Padrino (godfather) or Madrina (godmother) Scholarship, which he/she then awards to a deserving student. In this manner, a godparent relationship is established between a professional mentor and the student.
MAES provides in excess of forty thousand dollars a year in scholarships to deserving MAES students, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin, through its local professional chapters and at its National Symposium. A portion of the funds that MAES is able to obtain through its fundraising activities is passed on to students to help them meet the financial demands of a university education. The National Scholarship Committee provides scholarships to college students while local professional chapters provide scholarships to high school students. In the majority of cases, these young people are the first in their family to go to college. MAES sees its assistance program as an investment in the future of our country.
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