Crossroads students get interactive look at STEM subjects, careers

Ian Chen

Ian Chen, a senior at Calhoun High School, won first place in both the computer science and the senior mathematics test on April 21 during the 25th annual UHV Math & Robotics Awareness Day. About 160 high school students attended the event.

When Calhoun High School senior Ian Chen took the computer science and senior mathematics tests at the 25th annual University of Houston-Victoria Math & Robotics Awareness Day, he felt confident in his abilities. Still, it was a welcome surprise to learn he won first place in both competitions.

“It feels good, especially because I want to go to college to study computer science,” the 17-year-old Port Lavaca student said. “The Math & Robotics Awareness Day is a great experience because it helps students get to know different fields with lots of interesting presentations. I’m glad I got to participate in the event again.”

About 160 high school students from eight area high schools attended the event and took part in activities including mathematics and computer science tests, robotics demonstrations, breakout sessions and interacting with industry representatives at expo booths. High schools with students participating in the event were A.C. Jones High School in Beeville, Calhoun High School, Faith Academy, Palacios High School, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Hallettsville, St. Joseph High School, and Victoria East and West high schools.

This is the first year UHV has been able to host the event since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A grant from Alcoa Foundation funded the event as well as robotics courses for high school students. The grant also will fund summer camps featuring math, computer science, data science and robotics at UHV for middle and high school students. For more information, visit

Ricardo Teixeira

Throughout the day, students attended breakout sessions taught by UHV faculty members. The sessions focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics including computer science and nanotechnology. During lunch, Chance Glenn, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, gave a presentation on the science behind Star Trek.

“UHV Math & Robotics Awareness Day is always a fun event that encourages students to learn more about what is available in STEM careers,” said Ricardo Teixeira, UHV associate professor of mathematics, chair of natural science and mathematics, and co-organizer of the event. “This is one of the largest student events we’ve held at UHV since the start of the pandemic, and we are proud to see so many students engage in opportunities to learn.”

In addition to the breakout sessions, students were able to interact with displays at various expo booths including talking with representatives from Dow Chemical, Caterpillar, Inteplast Group, CivilCorp, UHV Robotics, Victoria West High School Engineering programs, UHV Recruitment, and the YMCA SHTEAM Bus. Members of a UHV after-school robotics program also showcased some of their projects.

Amjad Nusayr
Amjad Nusayr

“Math & Robotics Awareness Day is always a huge event that takes a lot of coordination to put together,” said Amjad Nusayr, UHV assistant professor of computer science, director of the computer science program and co-organizer of the event. “Between the mathematics and computer science competitions and the wide variety of breakout topics and expo booths, students had a full day of exposure to many different subjects that could pique their interest.”

Winners of the mathematics and computer science competitions each received an iPad and Apple Pencil. In addition, second- and third-place winners received medals while first-place winners received a trophy. The winners for the computer science contest were:

  • First – Ian Chen, Calhoun High School
  • Second – Sanchit Singhal, Victoria West High School
  • Third – Manas Agrawal, Victoria West High School

The mathematics tests were divided by grade. The winners of the math contest by grade and high school were:

  • Freshmen – Stacy Zhang, Calhoun, first; Kyle Shedd, Victoria West, second; Ajay Shamma, Victoria West, third
  • Sophomores – Emmett Lee, St. Joseph, first; Tammy Zhang, Calhoun, second; Judy Rube, Victoria West, third
  • Juniors – Lisa Du, St. Joseph, first; Sanchit Singhal, Victoria West, second; Luis Ramos, St. Joseph, third
  • Seniors – Ian Chen, Calhoun, first; Kary Xu, Calhoun, second; Ashton Rainey, Victoria West, third.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.