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Mexican American Students Make Michigan Proud

The ALPFA Student Chapter at Wayne State University recently entered the university's first BizOlympics, a competition hosted by the Business Student Senate and the WSU School of Business. During this event, students participated in a series of activities in which they demonstrated their ability to work as a team.

Representing the WSU Student Chapter of ALPFA Michigan, student president Enzo Olvera, former president Sonia Lopez, member Jesus Hernandez, VP Maria Olvera, Treasurer Merelin Antoni, and Marketing Director Jasmine Hernandez competed against seven other business student organizations.

The competition events were challenging, and one of the activities involved preparing a one minute presentation on how to attract a larger number of students to the WSU School of Business.

The ALPFA Student Chapter used their success stories and talked about the opportunities received through ALPFA Michigan and the School of Business to get the lead and win the coveted second place (competing against MBA students), granting them special recognition by the School of Business. These members of the ALPFA Student Chapter also won 1st place among all undergraduate student organizations.

This is the first time that a Latino-based organization wins at professional level at Wayne State University.

Hispanic students of every age are making Michigan proud.

During the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Michigan Robotics State Championship, Team 33 “The Killer Bees”, became Michigan State Champions. Among The Killer Bees team we found a young Mexican member: High School freshman Alberto Martínez-Garcia.

“The Killer Bees” represented Notre Dame Preparatory School and was mainly sponsored by The Chrysler Foundation. The team competed and won with their amazing ball-launching robot named Buzz XIX against 278 other Michigan teams (in 2014, Michigan had more teams than any other state, including California with only 233 teams, and Minnesota with 186).

Originally from Mexico and fully bilingual, 14-year-old Alberto Martínez-García has lived in the US most of his life. He is the son of Kostal Director of Sales Octavio Martínez, and Industrial Engineer María-Elena García -- who also has an MBA from MSU. As a freshman, Alberto contributed to the team acting as scout during the competition, by benchmarking the other competitors and their robots, by assembling and manufacturing the parts for Buzz XIX, and as part of the game strategy.

“I was amazed at the technical level these high school students are at”, said Octavio Martinez. “They have a knowledge and control of software, mechanical, and electrical design equivalent only to what we had when we were already in college”.

According to a report prepared by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and published by the American Immigration Council, 25,551 foreign students in Michigan contributed $758.7 million to the state’s economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Gov. Snyder, a huge fan of mechatronics (an ultra modern design process that combines mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control, and computer engineering), plans to invest an additional $2 million in next year’s Michigan Robotics competition, in order to help “solidify Michigan’s prominence in high school robotics”. In the last few years, there has been a shortage of engineering students in Michigan that is threatening the automotive industry and is forcing the government to bring engineers from other countries to work in the US and replace the thousands of engineers who are about to retire.

According to PEW Hispanic Center, there are 117,000 Hispanics enrolled in K-12 in Michigan, and with more students like Alberto, Enzo, Sonia, Jesus, Jasmine, Merelin, and Maria, Michigan’s economic future looks promising indeed

Keep up the good work, guys!!

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