How does Multiculturalism and Bilingualism Enhance Skills Needed for Careers in STEM Related Fields?



Jon Roberts, Principal, TIP Strategies

Jon Roberts is an international leader in economic development and has overseen projects throughout the US, as well as in Europe and Asia. Jon provides strategic direction to communities and regions across the country. A hallmark of his work is recognizing the relationships between seemingly unconnected trends. He is able to communicate their relevance and offer clients a clear path of action.

In addition to being a practitioner in the field, he has prepared policy papers on national economic development strategy and the future of jobs, published articles on economic development marketing, and has written editorials for major newspapers. Jon is a sought-after speaker on economic development issues nationally and internationally.

Jon was formerly the Director of Business Development both for the State of Washington and then for the State of Texas. In these positions, he directed recruitment and investment and led international trade missions. Prior to working for the Washington Department of Trade, Jon was with the Oregon Technology Fund, where he was responsible for venture capital investments. He also managed two start-up companies: Fiberlite Composites and LifePort Inc., and worked with the Center for Entrepreneurial Ventures.


Dr. Stuart Reichler, Professor of Life Science, UT at Austin

Dr. Stuart Reichler teaches at the University of Texas at Austin as part of the Freshman Research Initiative.  Stuart has taught a variety of classes including introductory biology, genetics, and non-majors biology.  For the past eight years Stuart has taught an inquiry-based course that teaches students about being a researcher by having them carry out experiments of their own design.  While this course is mostly taught to university students, Stuart also teaches it to high school students in the summer.  Additionally, Stuart has worked with the Blanton Art Museum developing programs combining art and science.  Stuart’s current research focuses on water quality in Waller Creek.


Lisa Howe, Entrepreneur and Co-founder, Kitchen Passport


Lisa Howe has over 15 years of experience in global high tech organizations, including an expat assignment at Dell in Singapore where she was part of the executive leadership team establishing and growing a new global design center.  She’s managed teams in the US, Belgium, China, and Singapore, and has managed key business partnerships in the US, Europe, and Asia.  She is currently the co-founder of a startup, Kitchen Table Passport, focused on bringing international cultural experiences to Americans.  She’s been passionate about international cultures since living with a local family in France for the summer at the age of 15, and overseas travel is still a favorite hobby.


Barbara Bullock, Professor of Linguistics and Co-Director of Bilingual Annotation Tasks (BATs) Force at UT Austin

Barbara Bullock is a linguist who specializes in the effects of bilingualism on linguistic structure. She co-directs the Spanish in Texas Corpus Project and the Bilingual Annotation Tasks (BATs) Force at UT Austin that adapts the tools and methodologies of natural language processing for use with bilingual language data.




Guest Moderator: Samantha Betancourt


Samantha Betancourt, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, BPL Plasma

Samantha Betancourt grew up in a bilingual English/Spanish speaking household   Her father is a native Spanish speaker and her mother is a native English speaker. Although US born, Samantha grew up in Lima, Peru.  She finished high school and college in the US.  Due to her language skills, Samantha was offered a management position in Guadalajara, Mexico in the Electronic Manufacturing Industry fairly early in her career.  While living and working in Mexico, Samantha met her husband and together they have three daughters, all of whom were born in Mexico.  She and her family moved to Austin from Mexico in 2012.   After working in the Technology and Manufacturing sector for approximately 20 years, Samantha has recently transitioned into the Life Sciences industry.  She is now Vice President of Supply Chain Management for BPL Plasma.