‘Roadtrip Nation’ brings STEM leaders to HHS and MHS

“Roadies” from the PBS documentary series “Roadtrip Nation” made a stop at Harlandale HS and McCollum HS this week to inspire seniors to define their own roads in life.

As part of their nation-wide education tour, “Roadtrip Nation” gave a dynamic and interactive presentation to the students. During the event, the “Roadies” interviewed two inspiring women who shared their obstacles, life lessons and advice while they followed their dream and succeeded in a STEM career.

At HHS, students heard from retired Lt. Coronel Olga Custodio, who made history when she became the first female U.S. military pilot and the first Latina commercial airline captain.

“There are times when you doubt yourself,” Custodio told the students. “But, you have to break that barrier and noise that says you can’t make it.”

She added, “My mantra is ‘Querer es poder’ which means where there is a will, there is a way.”

Natasha Wilkerson, Communities in Schools of San Antonio STEM project director, was interviewed at MHS and made sure to let everyone know that both boys and girls can aspire to become an engineer or pursue any career in a STEM-related field.

“A lot of the students in this community have not met an engineer or scientist, so just getting them exposed to that as a viable career option – especially the girls – is why I’m here today,” Wilkerson said. “There are so many negative stereotypes surrounding engineers, so I’m letting them know that I’m a female, and I’m an engineer, so they can see for themselves and maybe consider it as a possible career path.”

They both encouraged every student to find their passion, keep going and don’t give up.

Senior student at HHS Michelle Buckner enjoyed the presentation and felt motivated to find a career where she can make a difference.

“My passion is helping others, and I hope I can travel to different countries to reduce racial and social barriers in education,” she said.

After each presentation, the students were surprised as they were led to the parking lot to enter the iconic green RV, which includes signatures, quotes and advice written all over the walls and roof from the many leaders and celebrities interviewed from the PBS television show.

“RoadTrip Nation” has been traveling around the country for 16 years interviewing people from various backgrounds about their careers and how they determined their paths in life.

The Harlandale ISD events will air on PBS next season. 

Roadtrip Nation Visit Harlandale ISD

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