A West Virginia University student is representing the National Geographic Society this week at a conference on science education for Hispanics.

Aaron F. Cumashot, a geography major in WVU ’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is participating in Hispanic Engineering Science and Technology Week in Edinburg , Texas.

HESTEC is a leadership program developed by U.S. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa and the University of Texas to emphasize the importance of science, math and engineering education for students from pre-kindergarten through college. The conference includes professional development workshops, competitions, hands-on activities and presentations by speakers.

Cumashot’s participation in HESTEC resulted from the internship he served with the National Geographic Society in Washington , D.C. , during the spring of 2005.

“A large portion of my time at National Geographic was spent coordinating the society’s participation with HESTEC ,”said Cumashot, of Slatyfork.”As a continuation of my relationship with NGS , my supervisor from the internship asked me to represent National Geographic at the conference, giving geographic information science presentations and lending support to the keynote speakers.

“The internship experience has boosted my academic and professional aspirations in ways I could not have imagined a year ago,”he added.”HESTEC will touch the lives of thousands of students and teachers in southern Texas . It is a wonderful opportunity for me to further my experience in geography and inspire children to pursue scientific achievement.”

Cumashot is a 1996 Pocahontas High School graduate who worked and traveled for several years before entering WVU .

He is majoring in geography because the field offers insights into the breadth of modern human and environmental situations.

“To me, geography is a confluence of useful knowledge with infinite applications,”he said.

The National Geographic Society, founded in 1888, is one of the nation’s oldest scientific organizations. NGS offers public education efforts such as the National Geographic magazine and television series, the National Geography Bee and the NGS museum in Washington .

For more information, contact professor Kenneth C. Martis, WVU Department of Geology and Geography, at kmartis@wvu.edu or 304-293-5603 ext. 4320. More about HESTEC on the Net:www.hestec.org