By: Katherine Longoria
The Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) organization brought love and romance to NMSU students with Valentine’s Day Grams with their fundraising efforts for an upcoming trip.
The organization’s goal is to fundraise $1,000 through this and additional fundraisers in the future.
MAES sold chocolate-covered strawberries and macarons as well as delivered to people around campus.
The organization, which has more than 40 members, is planning to send four people chosen by the president and executive board of the chapter to a leadership conference.
The conference, MAES Leadership Academy, or MLA, is a national conference for leaders of each chapter and is held in Dallas, Texas. This year the conference will be from March 8-12.
Jessica Gonzalez, president of the MAES chapter at NMSU who is a Civil Engineering major, attended the academy last year and was the only student from NMSU to go.
“I joined MAES and was elected president and I was new to engineering, so I didn’t know what to expect” Gonzalez said.
The conference has many activities, including work-outs such as Zumba. The conference also includes a mock project team competition that separates people into groups and gives them a project to finish in 24 hours.
“You don’t get to choose your groups, so you are definitely out of pushed out of your comfort zone” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’s group was given the task to figure out a transportation problem using their engineering skills. They had to come up with a proposal, build their model, budget their project and present it to a panel.
The goal is to convince the panel that their proposal is worth being funded by the government. If the panel thinks it is worthy of being funded, the group goes to the next round to compete with others, until only one group is declared the winner.
The local NMSU chapter offers its members opportunities to not only attend the MLA Leadership Conference but also other national conferences and events throughout the year.
One of the biggest conferences they get to attend is the MAES Symposium which is held in Pasadena, California in the fall.
“Think of it as a career fair on steroids” Gonzalez said. “There are so many companies there, big companies, like Google, Exxon Mobile, NASA, and Boeing.”
The event brings together hundreds of MAES students from across the country that are seeking employment or advancement opportunities and helps them network with many potential employers.
The event also hosts a college decathlon that has chapters do 10 different activities in 24 hours. The NMSU chapter has won this decathlon two years in a row.
The MAES chapter at NMSU has been reaching out to not only Latino-Americans, but to other ethnic groups on campus.
“Anyone of any ethnicity can join. You don’t have to be a Latino, you don’t even have to speak Spanish” Gonzalez said.
MAES holds bi-weekly meetings on Thursdays at 5:15 p.m., at the Hardman & Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center in room 230.
There is a $25 yearly fee to become part of the organization. For more information, contact Chapter President Jessica Gonzalez at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.