Our Chapter

The student chapter of MAES: Latinos in Science and Engineering at the University of Houston has been in existence for 42 years and counting. In the past four decades, the chapter has flourished under the watchful eyes of dedicated and talented students and has become one of the leading student organizations in the Houston area.

Our History

MAES: Latinos in Science and Engineering was founded in 1974 as The Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists to increase the number of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in the technical and scientific fields. The idea to establish a Mexican American professional society of engineers originated with Mr. Robert Von Hatten, an aerospace electronic engineer with TRW Defense Space Systems in Redondo Beach, California in early 1974. By then, he had already spent several years as a company volunteer involved with programs directed at stemming the high dropout problem in East Los Angeles and the south bay area high schools. He envisioned a national organization that would serve the needs of its members and as a resource for industry and students. In mid-1974 Mr. Von Hatten contacted and convinced Mr. Manuel Castro to join him in the campaign to form the professional organization. During a subsequent series of meetings, the individuals listed below selected the name of the organization as the 'Mexican American Engineering Society' and drafted its articles and bylaws.  

Oscar Buttner - Rockwell International
Sam Buttner - Southern California Edison
Manuel Castro - Bechtel Power
Clifford Maldonado - Northrop Corporation
Sam Mendoza - California State University, Fullerton
Frank Serna - Northrop Corporation
Robert Von Hatten - TRW Defense Space Systems

The society filed incorporation papers as a nonprofit, tax exempt organization with the California Secretary of State in October 1974 and it received its charter on March 28, 1975. The Internal Revenue Service granted the society a federal tax-exemption letter and employer identification number on January 4, 1979. Ten years later, the organization filed to change its name to the 'Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, Inc.' This change was granted on July 19, 1989. One more modification to the name was done to become more inclusive as 'MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering.' Originally, the focus was on the professionals, but as the organization grew, so did the scope of its activities and interests. The Society now represents the Latino community in the all-important technological arena on issues related to education, economics, environment, and research. As a mature organization with a national membership representing all engineering and scientific disciplines, the society now has turned its focus on the youth of our people. Many of its programs, with the financial help of members, companies, and government agencies, are now directed at increasing the number of students at all grade levels who will study and prepare to enter technical professions. By projecting the positive image of its members and their accomplishments, MAES helps to improve society's perceptions of Latinos. By providing a networking and nurturing environment to develop their professional image, its members have opportunities to develop and hone their leadership, communication, management, and technical skills.

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