Engineering a future generation

Officer-in-Training Carlos Martinez, Cadet Role Model Award recipient, looks over a presentation commencing the college bowl at the 2014 Great Minds in Science Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Officer-in-Training Carlos Martinez, Cadet Role Model Award recipient, looks over a presentation commencing the college bowl at the 2014 Great Minds in Science Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega

A background in science, technology, engineering or mathematics serves Coast Guard men and women well in all mission areas. Just last week, four Coast Guard members were honored for their achievements in this area.

Retired Rear Adm. Ron Rábago, Lt. Cmdr. Luis Carmona, Cadet 1st Class Nathaniel Cajigas and Officer-in-Training Carlos Martinez received an award at the 2014 Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference.

Rábago was recognized for his work as a two-star admiral in the Coast Guard as well as his community contributions in the Engineering and Science Extravaganza program at the University of Texas at El Paso, College of Engineering. The program exposed economically disadvantaged high school students to STEM disciplines. This program included the Robotics on the Water competition, where students were provided the opportunity to plan, practice, and test their skills in STEM.

“Especially in the last 10 years of my service, I was given the opportunity to tell the Coast Guard story to people that may not have heard about the Coast Guard,” said Rábago. “When I talk about what the Coast Guard does, its people and the exciting opportunities available you can see these young people’s eyes just flare up. Our missions offer young people the opportunity to make a difference.”

Admiral Kevin Cook, commander, 8th Coast Guard District, poses in a photo with Lt. Cmdr. Luis Carmona and Ron Rábago, the recipients of the 2014  2014 Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics award, at the 2014 GMIS Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Admiral Kevin Cook, commander, 8th Coast Guard District, poses in a photo with Lt. Cmdr. Luis Carmona and Ron Rábago, the recipients of the 2014 2014 Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics award, at the 2014 GMIS Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

The GMIS program’s roots go back to the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards, which was created in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. The core of the GMIS program focuses on education awareness programs for students from kindergarten, all the way to those beginning their careers.

Carmona served as a Diversity Outreach Team member and volunteered to be a coach during three annual Great Minds in Science College Bowls, where he mentored and lead students. He also participated numerous times as a guest speaker at several Hispanic Association of College and Universities events.

“HENAAC has offered me the opportunity to mentor our future leaders in STEM. Specifically during the College Bowl which are three-day events with approximately 20 teams represented by corporate America and all the Armed Forces,” said Carmona. “Having the opportunity to directly influence and assist others during the conference has been a great tool to create a positive impression amongst those future leaders.”

Martinez is a member of the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-commissioning Initiative Program. He was awarded the HENAAC Cadet Role Model Award for his dedication as a computer engineer, which was shown through his involvement in multiple college programs that included tutoring and competing in robotics competitions and in the initiative to train in 10 Coast Guard units.

Cajigas was awarded the 2014 GMIS HENAAC award for his abilities to balance cadet life while holding academic excellence in advanced courses such as control systems and aeronautical engineering. Cajigas has held the dean list for every semester of his career at the Coast Guard Academy.

Officer-in-Training Carlos Martinez, Cadet Role Model Award recipient, and Lt. Lily Zepeda, public affairs officer at the 8th Coast Guard District, lead the Coast Guard College Bowl Team during a resume building exercise at the 2014 Great Minds in Science Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Officer-in-Training Carlos Martinez, Cadet Role Model Award recipient, and Lt. Lily Zepeda, public affairs officer at the 8th Coast Guard District, lead the Coast Guard College Bowl Team during a resume building exercise at the 2014 Great Minds in Science Conference held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans. Great Minds in Science was created as the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards in 1989 to represent Hispanic communities by providing grants, a scholarship program, a college bowl and a career fair. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Together these Coast Guardsmen represent a small fraction of the great role models who donate their time to mentor community youth. By motivating, mentoring and inspiring the next generation they play a role in developing the future of our nation, furthering the development of new and evolving technologies.

“Our nation needs young people who are willing to take on these tougher technical and academic challenges in order to secure our nation’s future and impact the world around us,” said Rábago.

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