Latinos in Science and Engineering, also known as Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), at UCI strives to create a supportive, familial environment that prepares Latinx students for a career in these fields by holding national conferences and networking students with employers.
MAES is an organization that was first founded in Los Angeles in 1974 by engineers who aspired to increase Latinx representation in STEM. In doing so, they provided members with career opportunities, such as public outreach events and professional development workshops, that allowed them to gain recognition for their dedication and commitment to the field.
Established by undergraduate Latinx engineers and scientists, UCI’s MAES chapter’s main goal is to create a sense of community on campus. More than an academic club, MAES is an organization built on the concept of “familia.”
“The sense of ‘familia’ is one thing that truly separates us from other academic clubs. MAES members are not just club members but rather, brothers and sisters.” Co-External Vice President of MAES and fourth-year public health sciences major Jacqueline Alvarez said.
Alvarez said she joined this organization for that reason.
“I joined MAES because it was a place where I could connect with others like me. It’s hard to find people like you in college and MAES gave me the sense of familia,” she said. “Everyone there wants to succeed with each other and we all share similar struggles. It’s a great place to grow throughout my college career,”
She said that these values greatly coincided with MAES’s mission of striving to not only encourage Latinx in STEM fields but also to create a unified network of members that support each other by providing a “home away from home.”
MAES is currently partnered with the California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CAMP), an alliance program that aims to increase the number of “STEM degree recipients from underrepresented communities.” Members can attend their joint national conferences to network with fellow Latinx engineers and employers from various companies, which will soon be announced on their website.
MAES also aims to make an impact beyond UCI’s campus through their creation of the Science Extravaganza. This annual event, which is usually held each spring, entails members visiting local middle and high schools to help students recognize their potential in a STEM field.
Furthermore, MAES hosts social events and career networking opportunities for its members. Additional information can be found on their website or Instagram page @maesuci.
Esha Sashil Chandra is a STEM Staff Writer for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.