Engineers, teachers, volunteers and others are invited to gather at a free conference at UC Irvine about ways to encourage minority students to enter scientific and mathematical fields.
The meeting Friday is organized by Project SMART--Science and Mathematics Articulated Roads Toward Teaching--a UCI education department effort to attract underrepresented students to become science and math teachers.
When compared to all undergraduate students across the country, only one-fourth as many minority undergraduate students pursue science and math degrees, said Alan Hoffer, UCI Department of Education director.
"There are some role models out there teaching in the sciences, but not enough," said Sonia Mucarsel, program coordinator. "We want to create teachers as role models who can encourage other students."
A few of those role models will speak at the conference, Mucarsel said.
Speakers include: Eloy Rodriguez, a former UCI professor and botanist who teaches at Cornell University; Eugene Cota-Robles, professor emeritus at UC Santa Cruz; Manuel N. Gomez, UCI associate vice chancellor of academic affairs; and George Castro, former president of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.
The project is funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Mucarsel said, and Southern California Edison Co. helped sponsor the conference. Conference attendees will be able to explore Southern California Edison's mobile science classroom and hands-on science experiments, Mucarsel said.
The conference is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Emerald Bay A Room of the UCI Student Center. Parking is $4. For more information, call (714) 856-5483.