Five Valencia Students Named Siemens Technical Scholars

Washington, D.C. – The Aspen Institute and Siemens Foundation have named five Valencia College students as 2018-19 Siemens Technical Scholars. All five are students in Valencia’s network engineering technology program, which prepares them for careers in network systems, cyber security and information technology.

The prestigious Siemens Technical Scholars awards recognize an exceptional group of diverse students who demonstrate the rewarding careers and opportunities that result from completing STEM programs. This year’s 44 Scholars will go on to serve as ambassadors for their programs and their respective fields.

The Siemens Technical Scholars are chosen by The Aspen Institute in partnership with the community colleges that win the Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award. The 43 programs honored since the awards were launched in 2015 do an exceptional job launching students directly into technical careers with wages that enable them to support a family. These colleges partner with employers to offer students in-demand credentials and teach the necessary skills with rigor.

“In the digital economy, going to college and the American dream are more tightly linked than ever before,” said Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA and chair of the Siemens Foundation. “And in this unique moment, one of the smartest choices someone can make is to pursue technical education through a community college.”

Valencia College’s Network Engineering Technology Associates Degree program was awarded $25,000 to support scholarships for the following Siemens Technical Scholars:

Amanda Cartagena, one of five Valencia students selected as a Siemens Technical Scholar.
  • Amanda Cartagena
  • Kacie Paulk
  • Juan Luna
  • Jugal Mehta
  • Brianna Gonzalez

In the coming years, demand for STEM skills will continue to grow. Some estimates show as many as 26 million jobs in the United States will require significant STEM knowledge, representing nearly 20 percent of all U.S. jobs. Employers are having trouble finding qualified people to fill these spots. Pursuing an in-demand, technical STEM career like those the Siemens Technical Scholars have selected—in health care, energy, information technology, and advanced manufacturing—is an impactful way for Americans to achieve economic mobility. More than half of STEM jobs across the United States require only an associate degree and pay, on average, more than $50,000 a year.

“Too often, we fail to connect the incredible talent in communities with the rewarding careers available right now,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute. “The exceptional and diverse 2019 class of Siemens Technical Scholars embody those connections. Their hard work in excellent community college programs has not just launched them on strong careers but serves as a model for how America can develop the talent it needs to continue to grow economically.”

Valencia College’s Network Engineering Technology program was honored for its hands-on approach to help students learn about every type of computer networking system using the latest virtual tools and technologies. Courses are designed to ensure that students are well-prepared with the skills they need to secure jobs in information and network security with companies in industries ranging from healthcare, defense, and tourism.

The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit and follow CEP at @AspenHigherEd.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based
in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $115 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Siemens Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research, and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are closing the opportunity gap for young people in the United States when it comes to STEM careers and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. For further information, visit or follow @sfoundation. Follow the Siemens Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.