Six Students from Miami Dade College’s MAGIC Program Named as Siemens Technical Scholars

Miami, Sept. 24, 2018 – The Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation have named six current students and alumni of Miami Dade College (MDC) as 2018 Siemens Technical Scholars. The prestigious Siemens Technical Scholars awards recognize an exceptional group of diverse students from across the country who demonstrate the rewarding careers and opportunities that result from completing excellent STEM programs. This cycle’s 44 Scholars will go on to serve as ambassadors for their programs and their respective fields.

The Siemens Technical Scholars are chosen by Aspen in partnership with the community colleges that win the Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award. The 43 programs honored since the awards 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 in this unique moment, one of the smartest choices someone can make is to pursue technical education through a community college.”

The acclaimed Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) at MDC was awarded $25,000 to support scholarships for the following Siemens Technical Scholars:

  • Gabriela Pifano
  • Victoria Garcia
  • Felix Jarquin
  • Andres Gonzalez
  • Amy Garcia Fernandez
  • Ruben Ruiz Velasco

The MAGIC program was honored for preparing students for careers in the competitive animation and gaming industry. Established in 2015 to meet rapidly growing workforce demand, program enrollment has expended to more than 500 students—many of whom are from racial, ethnic, and low-income groups underrepresented in the animation and gaming industry. This intensive, hands-on program is a talent pipeline for the regional media industry—which includes companies such as Universal and Nickelodeon—MAGIC helps students achieve their dreams.

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 that require significant STEM knowledge, representing nearly 20% of all U.S. jobs. Employers are having trouble finding qualified people to fill these spots. Pursing 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.”

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 $100 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 the Siemens Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest, campus-based institution of higher education with an undergraduate enrollment of 165,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college’s eight campuses offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including several baccalaureate degrees in biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others.  MDC is the recipient of top national awards. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences.  It houses the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, the Idea Center, the School for Advanced Studies, the New World School of the Arts, to name a few.  MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $6 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry.   MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, a sculpture park and a large art gallery system.  MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. For more information, visit