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La Familia Technology Week Inspires Next Generation of Space Explorers

IBM, Career Communications Group and Hispanic NASA Astronauts Join Forces to Encourage Hispanic Families’ Interest in Space, Science and Technology

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ARMONK, NY - 20 Sep 2005: NASA astronauts and scientists will transport hundreds of students in Hispanic communities through the cosmos by sharing personal experiences of space travel and the impact of technology on space exploration during nationwide events marking the fifth La Familia Technology Week sponsored by IBM and Career Communications Group (CCG).

This national program, which coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month, will highlight the importance of science and technology and how they can create future careers for Hispanic children.

"IBM is committed to bringing the world of technology to Hispanic communities," said Ana O. Martinez, director for ibm.com, Latin America and La Familia co-chair. "IBM has consistently shown its leadership and dedication to the Hispanic community by being a leader in supporting events such as La Familia  and other educational initiatives, created specifically to motivate and inspire Hispanic students while creating a strong technology talent pipeline in our community."

La Familia's first event will take place in New York City on September 27 at El Museo del Barrio.  During the event, students will have an opportunity to meet NASA astronaut Sydney Gutierrez and participate in educational activities with Lego robotics, polymers and IBM's ¡Tradúcelo Ahora!, (Translate Now), an automatic English-to-Spanish translation software.  

Similar events will take place across the country, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on September 29; the University of Texas in Austin, the week of October 16; the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium in Florida, on October 3rd; and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois, on October 11.

Together with CCG, hundreds of IBM employees and volunteers will introduce Hispanic families across the country to the power and potential of technology.  Through La Familia, IBM and CCG hope to reach Latino students and give them access to Latino role models who have succeeded in achieving their dreams and foster discussion about the importance of nurturing innovation in America's youth.

"Over the years, participating in La Familia has been incredibly satisfying to IBM employees and business partners. As a national corporate founding sponsor of La Familia, we have seen firsthand how IBM can make a difference and we are looking for additional ways to make a significant impact in our Hispanic communities," said Enrique Gomez, director of CRM Solutions for IBM and La Familia co-chair.

Since its inception, La Familia has hosted hundreds of computer classes, technology expos, Internet cafes and workshops.  It has also provided thousands of Hispanic families across the country with access, training and in many instances, their first introduction to technology. 

Last year, La Familia helped launch Partnering with IBM in Education (PIE), a yearlong, K-12 program developed to assist the Hispanic community in participating more fully in the digital age.  PIE, an adopt-a-school program, encourages interest in math and science among elementary school children, increases college preparedness, and seeks to help reduce the dropout rate among Hispanic students.  The program is based upon specific school needs and consists of IBM volunteers who mentor students in person or online as part of IBM's MentorPlace program.  Also, MentorPlace volunteers engage in activities such as e-mentoring, science fairs, computer training for parents as well as offer career and technology presentations to the children throughout the school year.   The program also includes, in selected cities, a cascade mentoring effort with students and professionals from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

IBM's employees have a long history of giving back to their communities.  Last year alone, IBM employees in the U.S. generously volunteered more than four million hours of their time and talents in their local schools and communities.  In addition, IBM recently launched the global On Demand Community, a global strategic initiative that supports employee volunteerism around the world.  The web site includes presentations on engineering, fun, hands-on experiments from the award-winning TryScience.org web site, and opportunities for employees to provide IBM Community Grants to schools and nonprofit organizations where they volunteer regularly.

To learn more about La Familia Technology Week 2005, please visit www.lafamilianet.net or call (410) 244-7101.

Contact(s) information

Karina Diehl
IBM Media Relations
(305) 374-4153
kdiehld@us.ibm.com

Claudia Mejia-Haffner
Euro RSCG Magnet
(212) 367-6911
Claudia.mejiahaffner@eurorscg.com