Charles E. Vela
Executive Director, CAHSEE
Charles E. Vela is a research and development engineer with over twenty
years of experience in leading and managing the application of advanced
technologies to large scale and complex systems.
Currently he's President and Chief Scientist of Expertech solutions,
a high-tech startup company, where he advises the IRS in the acquisition
and deployment of large scale strategic technology. He also leads the
company's R&D program.
Formerly he served as Senior Science Advisor for the Illinois Institute
of Technology Research Institute (IITRI), where he advised the IRS in
its multi-billion dollar modernization project.
Before joining ITTRI, he was a Lead Engineer at the MITRE Corporation
(divested from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where he managed
a high-tech telecommunications laboratory and directed R&D in the
economic analysis and optimization of the federal telecommunications
systems. Previously, he was Assistant Study Director at the Institute
of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where he led research
in the utilization of enabling technologies on the mapping of the brain.
He is a former Professor of, and Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering
at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He holds advanced degrees
in Electrical Engineering and Operations Research from the California
State University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, respectively.
His current areas of research include: Public sector modernization and
re-engineering; Best practices for the acquisition and management of
large-scale complex information technology and telecommunications systems;
Algorithms for optimal call center operations; Integration of heterogeneous
technologies in large-scale systems, the design of complex executive
decision support systems, economics of large-scale telecommunications
systems and data mining.
Charles Vela is Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement
of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education (CAHSEE). Over the
last twelve years, as CAHSEE Executive Director and as former Chair
of the Committee Advancing Careers in Science and Engineering of the
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Charles has pioneered a
nationwide comprehensive system of model programs that supports the
academic success of Hispanic American and other minority students. Fifth
through 11th graders receive college-level accelerated courses in math,
science, and engineering to prepare them to enter top universities.
He manages the Center's NASA-funded engineering and science faculty
and professional development program and a Department of Energy-funded
R&D program, serving, respectively, 40 and 10 college graduate and
undergraduate students yearly. He also is responsible for the Center's
strategic relations with the White House, members of Congress, federal
agencies, corporate america, professional organizations and national
Nearly all of CAHSEE pre-college students enroll in science and engineering
programs with almost zero attrition. Seventy percent of CAHSEE students
pursue graduate degrees, mostly master, within two years of obtaining
their Bachelors degree. Fifteen CAHSEE students have completed or are
presently pursuing doctorates at leading American universities, including
Caltech, MIT, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. San Diego, Arizona State, UCLA, University
of Arizona, Notre Dame, the Mayo Clinic, Northwestern University among
For his work with CAHSEE, in 1997, he received the Junipero Serra Award,
the highest recognition given by the Latino science and engineering
community to one of its peers for sustained effort and success in channeling
Latinos into science and engineering careers.
Charles Vela is presently leading an effort to establish a Center for
Academic Excellence in Science and Engineering in El Salvador. The Center
consists of four accelerated science, math and engineering programs
geared towards gifted and talented college and pre-college students
and university faculty. He has also assisted the University of El Salvador
in the development of its research policy. Recently, the Salvadoran
Minister of Education, Dr. Evelyn Jacir de Lobo, presented him with
a merit award for his contribution towards education in El Salvador.
Charles has served on many boards and commissions, including the Congressional
Commission on Woman and Minorities in Science where he represented the
Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Congressman Dennis J. Hastert;
the National Science Foundation's Model Institutions of Excellence;
The National Academy of Sciences’ Committee to Evaluate the National
Institutes of Heath (NIH) Minority Programs; The National Research Council’s
Knowledge Assessment Committee; The National Commission of Technology
Education; The Board of Governors of the Latino Science and Engineering
Consortium; The National Council of La Raza; and The Hispanic Council
of International Relations, among others.
Charles Vela has written, published and presented numerous papers and
reports on technical and education related subjects and has been the
recipient of multiple awards for his technical and educational contributions.
In 1996, Vela received Vice President Gore's National Performance Review
Hammer Award for his contributions to the modernization of the Federal
Charles and his work in education have been featured in the Washington
Post, the Hispanic Engineer Magazine, UNIVISION, the Hispanic Business
Magazine, Technica, Hispanic National Radio, and local television and
radio stations, NASA publications, and in El Salvador’s newspapers
and magazines. In 2000, the former First Lady, Hillary Rodman-Clinton
and the Department of Education highlighted CAHSEE on a document entitled
“What Works in the Hispanic Community”. In past press
releases, the White House has highlighted its partnership with CAHSEE