Success Stories from the Science Workshop

September 26, 2023
Leslie Hernandez spent her summer volunteering at CMH’s Science Workshop program. She helped students take on a variety of projects focusing on robotics, woodworking, and computer programming.

Supporting STEM Achievement in Houston’s East End

CMH is proud to nurture leaders like Leslie Hernandez. Leslie began participating in the Museum's Science Workshop at Edison Middle School in sixth grade. In Leslie's eighth-grade year, the pandemic forced the closure of in-person programming, but Leslie kept learning with science kits and remote instruction provided by the Science Workshop’s Site Director. 

Leslie is now a Junior at Early East High School, and she wants to major in engineering in college. To help Leslie reach her goals, Science Workshop staff recently reached out to development geologist Stephanie Nwoko, who they met as part of a field trip supported by HESS and the Society of Petroleum Engineers - Gulf Coast Section. Stephanie introduced Leslie to Alexandra Gomez, a petroleum engineer at Chevron. Alexandra is mentoring Leslie as she prepares for college. “I had my first session with Leslie a week ago,” said Alexandra, “and we plan to meet twice a month. I am grateful and happy to help Leslie in any way. It is amazing to know how much impact adults can have in children’s lives. Leslie is an amazing girl.”

This fall, Leslie is volunteering to lead students in robotics activities three days a week, including Edison Middle School students Albert Vera (shown at left) and Raul Navarro (shown at right). She plans to host a robotics competition for students at the end of the semester, and she will begin a session on drones in January.

Leslie’s determination and passion for STEM can be seen every day. She is a part of East Early High School’s drone and robotics teams, and she is the head of its engineering group.  She is also helping her younger peers by volunteering at the Science Workshop three days a week during the school year. Leslie’s story is unique because of her drive and ambition, but also because she lives in a community where academic success can be a challenge. Most adults in her neighborhood did not graduate high school, and only 10% have attended college.

Science Workshop staff are so proud of Leslie, and of the many students who have returned to the Workshop to share their success. CMH’s Science Workshop introduces youth to experiences that can help shape their futures, including hands-on projects and field trips where students meet STEM professionals. Evaluations show that students who participate in the Science Workshop have fewer school absences and higher test scores in math and science. Thanks to the generous support of Valero, Hess, and M.D. Anderson Foundation, all Science Workshop programming is provided at no charge to students.