ORLANDO, Fla. – A Central Florida entrepreneur is working to inspire Hispanic students to enroll in STEM-related degrees and enter the STEM-workforce.
What You Need To Know
- Entrepreneur wants Hispanic students to pursue STEM degrees, careers
- Gabriel Ruiz is the founder of Advanced IT Concepts Inc
- The STEM company is partnered with the U.S. military
- US labor data shows Hispanics only make up a little more than 5% of STEM workforce
Gabriel Ruiz is the president and founder of Advanced IT Concepts Inc a STEM-company partnered with the U.S. Military.
“In Belgium, we’re putting entire medical facility simulations for NATO Special forces,” Ruiz said. “The technology we’re deploying immerses them into an entire combat like infrastructure facility and they develop skill that are needed in order to save lives.”
The company’s association with the military began with Ruiz who spent 36 years in the U.S. Army working in technologies. He said he became enamored with technology at a young age. At 16 he enrolled in STEM-courses at the University of Puerto Rico.
Ruiz wants to help young Hispanics find success as he did.
Hispanics are one of the fasting growing demographics in the U.S., making up almost 20-percent of the population, but only a little more than five percent of the STEM workforce, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Educational Researcher, a peer reviewed academic journal covering education, found Hispanic and white college students enroll in STEM-programs at about the same rate, 19 percent, but Hispanics drop out or transfer out at a much higher rate, almost 40 percent.
AITC Inc. partnered with Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico to help keep Hispanic students involved in STEM.
“We’re now going to start bringing those young minds, young students that are specifically focused on STEM to expose them to the technologies we’re deploying and develop that mindset, stay within STEM careers," Ruiz said.
Ruiz will be the 2020 Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico commencement speaker where a large number of graduates are Hispanics with STEM certificates.
5 Notable Hispanics with STEM Careers
Ochoa was selected by NASA in 1990 to become the first Hispanic female astronaut for the agency. She went on to serve on four space shuttle missions, logging nearly 1,000 hours in space.
She also is a co-inventor for three patents involving optical systems, including one for reducing noise from images.
MARIO J. MOLINA
Molina won a Nobel Prize with two other researchers, for determining that chemicals used in what is commonly known as Freon were contributing to ozone depletion. He’s the first Mexican-born scientist to win the Nobel, in 1995.
FRANCE A. CORDOVA
Cordova became the first woman to hold the position of NASA chief scientist in 1993. She conducted research on black holes, x-ray and gamma ray resources as a scientist, publishing more than 150 scientific papers.
She was appointed director of the National Science Foundation in 2014, and retired in 2020.
Albert Baez helped invented the X-ray reflection microscope, which allows scientists to examine living cells, and also contributed to the development of X-ray telescopes. He’s also the father of folk singer Joan Baez.
ANTONIA COELLO NOVELLO
A pediatrician, Novello is also the first woman, and the first Hispanic person to be U.S. surgeon general. She served as surgeon general from 1990 to 1993. She also contributed to the drafting of the National Organ Transplant Act, which outlawed compensation for organs and created national registries.