McAllen ISD teacher to present at prestigious engineering conference

Robert Saldana, a teacher at McAllen ISD’s McAllen High School, will be presenting at a national conference this fall.

Saldana will present at the 2019 National Science Foundation Engineering Education and Centers Grantees Conference in Arlington, Virginia, Oct. 21-23.

Saldana has spent the past two summers representing McAllen ISD at the Texas A&M Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Enhancing Knowledge and Skills in Engineering and Manufacturing. Out of 12 participants, he was asked to apply to the NSF grantees conference.

“The Texas A&M University RET was very helpful in building my engineering and manufacturing skill set, as I had a better understanding of engineering and how it is taught and practiced at A&M,” Saldana said. “I was able to transfer this knowledge to my students over the past year with many lessons and ideas gained in the summer. This was a six-week program that involved rigorous hands-on training in multiple areas of manufacturing and engineering.”

The topics covered included:

  • Traditional manufacturing
  • Laser processing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Surface engineering

    Upon completion of the program, the participants will create a plan that will give their students similar experiences in the field of manufacturing and engineering. Saldana's students have shown great success in recent years in the First Tech Challenge robotics competition, taking away many awards, including winning Alliance awards, Design awards and Innovate awards which correlates with the lessons learned from Texas A&M. 

    “This conference is a great opportunity for me to gain more experience as I will be able to see what other RET participants across the country are doing in their classrooms,” Saldana said. “I will be presenting the successes my students have had over the past year in the areas of CNC manufacturing and robotics.” 

    This National Science Foundation-funded program aims to address the increasing demand for a qualified workforce in manufacturing by providing skill training to teachers and supporting school programs.