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Expo inspires students to pursue STEM careers

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SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of inner-city middle school students got a taste of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- or STEM -- careers at the fifth-annual CORE4 STEM Expo.

The event was organized by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with the goal of expose students to new career opportunities. 

More than 3,500 middle school students from five inner-city school districts attended the event over a 2-day period.   

The event included nearly 40 hands-on stations.

Some students had the chance to try creating video games.

One activity allowed kids to drive a remote control toy truck around a track, while learning about hydraulics, pneumatics and programmable logic controllers.

The event was sponsored by local STEM-related companies, including Toyota, HEB, the Tesoro Foundation, USAA, Rackspace and The Boeing Company and about a dozen more.

"We're seeing more and more of a change in San Antonio's landscape in terms of more STEM jobs, science, engineering jobs so we need to expose kids at a young age and these are middle school students to what is science about, what is engineering about relative to jobs," said Rudy Reyna, Executive Director of UTSA's Prefreshman engineering program.

The event took place Tuesday and Wednesday at Freeman Coliseum.

The first day, called "Latina Day," was for female students.

Keynote speakers included rocket scientists, Shayla Rivera and former NASA International Space Station Ground Controller Dorothy Ruis-Martinez.

"Latino Day" on Wednesday catered to boys.

Keynote speakers included Jim Brazelle, President of Venture Ramp Inc., and Robert Trevino, NASA Deputy Project Manager.