ERDC Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month – The Vicksburg Post

ERDC celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted 2:18 p.m. Friday, September 30, 2022

By Carol C. Coleman | ERDC Public Affairs Specialist

Each year, September 15 marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the heritages and cultures of Hispanic American citizens who hail from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The U.S. Army Engineers Research and Development Center (ERDC) has a vibrant Hispanic workforce whose contributions have helped make the ERDC the world-class research organization it deserves. is today.

Hispanics are a diverse community, coming from many different regions and climates, speaking different dialects and having different traditions. They represent one of the fastest growing populations in the country.

“Diversity, in general, is fundamental to any business,” said Dr. Norberto Nadal-Caraballo, senior research civil engineer and leader of the Coastal Hazards Group at ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulic Laboratory. “For us to build a better and safer world and to innovate, we need to embrace different perspectives and ideas from a wider range of cultures, backgrounds, educations and life experiences.”

“When I think of diversity and inclusion, I don’t think of ethnicity but of each individual contributing to making this world a better place,” said Edith Martinez-Guerra, environmental research engineer at the ERDC Environmental Laboratory. “I think diversity and inclusion makes us stronger and helps us thrive as a team.”

According to an April 2021 Pew Research Center report, Hispanics make up 8% of workers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Although Hispanic representation in STEM has increased by one percentage point since 2018, many believe that more should be done to encourage interest and support younger generations in pursuing careers in STEM.

“I always perform my duties with a service-oriented mindset, so that the value to the organization is evident while providing a vital service to all members of the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) and ERDC,” said Evelyn Villanueva, research geologist at ERDC-GSL. “Cultural and intellectual diversity in STEM-related fields is key to building a competitive and strong organization like ERDC.”

“I believe in leading by example, so I hope my STEM career can to some extent serve as an inspiration and an example of what can be achieved regardless of ethnicity or other possible challenges. “, said Nadal-Caraballo. “I think it’s imperative to focus on the positive experiences and use any negative interactions as additional motivation. Ultimately, our work and our results are the best show card.

“I hope I can influence or share my love for the environment, science and engineering,” Martinez-Guerra said. “I also hope they can see that no matter where we come from, we can achieve great things through STEM.”

The 2022 theme for the National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is “Unidos: Inclusiveness for a Stronger Nation.” Roughly translated, Unidos means united. The concept of drawing strength from unity has long been supported by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense, where diversity and inclusion are paramount within the organization to ensure a workforce highly skilled and skilled work capable of meeting current and future mission requirements. .

“Celebrating diversity is important because it will help increase cultural awareness and acceptance,” Villanueva said. “I think ERDC does a really good job of celebrating our cultural origins.”

“I’ve always been interested in science and engineering and how we can transform lives by bringing about positive change through new discoveries in STEM fields,” she continued. “I always strive to mentor and facilitate interactions with students as much as possible, whether at work or in the community.”

“Along this journey, I also hope to do my part in recruiting and mentoring students, especially those who might be overlooked due to their ethnicity or other factors,” Nadal-Caraballo said. . “It can be difficult to effectively promote understanding and acceptance of groups that are not necessarily embedded at all levels of an organization. Strengthening and expanding efforts to increase the diversity of ERDC’s workforce and the retention of that workforce is critical to our mission and our continued success in the future.

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