Hector Carrasco, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education, Engineering and Professional Studies, Colorado State University-Pueblo, will receive the 2009 Outstanding Educator of the Year award by the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) Friday, Nov. 6 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.
Carrasco is being awarded for his contributions as educator and role model for the Hispanic and Latino communities.
During his 30-year career Carrasco has worked with students in engineering and science disciplines, and on grant-funded projects to increase the number of minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Presently he is involved with a two-year, $143,000 Department of Education-funded grant, designed to increase career awareness of southern Colorado middle and high school students.
Richard Martinez, a one-time president of the MAES student chapter at the University of Texas-El Paso, nominated Carrasco for the award.
“I’m honored to receive this award since I know the accomplishments of others who have received this in the past,” Carrasco said in an e-mail to CSU-Pueblo Today.
According to Carrasco, a team of engineers who wanted to advance and increase the number of Latinos working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics established MAES in 1974. The team created opportunities and raised awareness through professional, technical and outreach activities, he said. MAES recognizes Latino engineers and scientists for their education and leadership excellence, he added.
CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia , said Carrasco is passionate about helping students achieve success in math and engineering because of the opportunities that await graduates with technical degrees.
“He has always volunteered his time to help student clubs like MAES,” Garcia said of Carrasco. “He knows what a difference his engineering education made for him, and he wants to see other young people have those same opportunities.”
Carol Foust, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Exercise Science, Health Promotion and Recreation, said Carrasco is a professional who stays current in his field and encourages others to follow his example.
“He makes every effort to ensure students have practical experiences, and the opportunity to engage in research and application projects,” Foust said. “As dean, he has been able to support not only the Department of Engineering, but all departments in his college that train professionals.”
Carrasco earned a bachelors degree and a masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas-El Paso in 1970 and 1975, and a doctorate in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University in 1986.
Carrasco’s career highlights: director, Engineering Opportunities, University of Texas-El Paso; assistant professor, Engineering Design Graphics, Texas A&M University; chair and associate professor, Department of Engineering, CSU-Pueblo; dean, College of Applied Science and Engineering, CSU-Pueblo. Carrasco was appointed to his current position in 2000.
He also served as faculty advisor to three MAES student chapters and two chapters with the Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Carrasco said he believes in the MAES mission, and works to inspire young Hispanics to consider careers in science and engineering professions.
“I am convinced that careers in science and engineering are the best avenues to impact society and earn a decent living,” Carrasco said. “Science and engineering careers can be the gateway to prosperity for minorities and first generation college students.”
Carrasco and his wife, Marjorie, have three children: Caesar, 32; Hector, 30 and Philip, 20.