It is a modern tradition for first ladies to invite people to sit in her viewing box to watch the President deliver his State of the Union address at the Capitol. These guests exemplify the themes and ideals that the President considers to be a priority. From the White House Science Fair to Astronomy Night, the White House has talked consistently about the power of STEM learning and the need to fill STEM jobs now and in the future.
We join the White House in honoring one STEM leader:
OSCAR VAZQUEZ (FORT WORTH, TX)
VETERAN, DREAMER, STEM LEADER
Like many DREAMers, Oscar came to the United States as a child in search of a better life. From age 12 when he moved from Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona, Oscar excelled in the classroom. He excelled as a STEM student at Carl Hayden High School and led an unlikely and inspiring story of a group of under-resourced Hispanic high school students who took on an MIT team in an underwater robotics competition and won. That opportunity led to a college education in the STEM field, earning a B.S.E. in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University in May 2009. But without legal status, he couldn’t secure a job to provide for his new wife and newborn child. He returned to Mexico to apply for a visa, and with help from Sen. Dick Durbin, who spoke from the Senate Floor about Oscar’s case, he was granted a green card in August 2010. Six months later, Oscar enlisted in the Army to serve the country he loves and calls home. Oscar served one tour in Afghanistan and is now a proud U.S. citizen. He now works for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways as a business analyst in a web app development team, and is a passionate advocate on behalf on expanding STEM opportunities for Latino and other under-represented youth.