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HISPA and Columbia SHPE Youth Conference, A Great Success: THANK YOU!


Wed, 11/02/2016 - 6:50pm — webmaster

Dear HISPA Role Models, volunteers and partners of Columbia SHPE and HISPA NYC’s 2016 Youth Conference,


On behalf of the entire HISPA team, we thank each and every of our 80 volunteers for making this conference—our 20th to date—an outstanding success! Thank you for your time, commitment, friendship and support before the conference and throughout the day.


The 108 attending 7th, 8th and 9th graders from Inwood Academy for Leadership, Manhattan Bridges High School and Mott Hall Bridges Academy experienced a wonderful array of speakers and workshops with inspirational role models. And YOU made this possible. Mil gracias!


We would like to express our gratitude and highlight your contributions. First, thanks to our host, Columbia University, for welcoming us onto your breathtaking campus! To the Columbia Chapter of the Society of
Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for their partnership, and to Kimberly Lopez Espinoza for her leadership: the care and dedication you put into making sure every detail of the conference was expertly planned to support our students made it possible for all of us to inspire them to achieve their dreams. Thanks to all of the SHPE members and Columbia students—Yinlin Yu, Yumen Zhang and others—for supporting the day’s activities, ensuring all workshop presenters were properly prepared, guaranteeing all volunteers could navigate the facilities, leading your workshop displaying the power of science at an outstanding level, and sharing your stories and advice during the “Life After High School” panel.


Thank you to Elena Cabral of Columbia Journalism School for her passion and care up until the last second, making sure SHPE and HISPA had the facilities necessary to successfully execute the conference, and for her leadership as panel moderator of the "Life After High School" session. To Briget Arndell
of Columbia University’s Undergraduate Student Life for being a pillar of support, knowledge and guidance for both SHPE and the HISPA Youth Conference. To Joseph Ayala and Christian Rivera
for their remarks and welcoming attending students to participate in Double Discovery Center
(DDC) programs, and to Margaret Yates and all those at DDC for allowing us to use your space for conference workshops. It was wonderful talking to you all about our shared goals, and you all do an excellent job of translating your passion for student advancement into DDC programming.


This conference would not have been possible without the staff support of Columbia’s Lerner Hall. Thanks to Jimmy Sarmiento for assuring the conference flowed seamlessly and that we had everything necessary to successfully execute each and every session; your logistical support was integral to the event and underscores your belief in our mission. To Deanna Kowal and Rudy Rodriguez for supporting all the pre-planning and guaranteeing that all the needed event and tech support was there and on point. And to Jasmine Pena for coordinating the wonderful breakfast that welcomed students and volunteers as they arrived that morning.


Thank you to our Co-host Verizon and to the Verizon HSO team. To Mitchell Sanchez for his dedication to coordinating the many contributions of Verizon HSO: your engaging workshop was applauded by all students and volunteers who attended. To Rafael Quintero and Ruben Luque for helping to plan the workshop and for your energy as workshop leaders. To Carl Mayo for supporting the organization and preparation of the giveaways bags assembled by the HSO team and to Martin Lopez for his closing remarks highlighting the power of words on one’s choices. And to the entire Verizon team for their participation and assistance: Rebecca Burgos, Leonicio Gomez, Rheava Kirvin, Michael Reynolds, Antonia Roman and James Vera.


We thank our Lead Sponsor ESPN as well as Leo Arciniegas and all the members of ESPN Goal! for the time they spent planning and executing their amazing media workshop. To Sergio Verdu for his spirited closing remarks urging students to reach for their dreams. The giveaways contributed to students’ and volunteers’ gift bags made it possible for everyone to take a piece of the conference home with them that day. To Rodrigo Biggio, Brianna Briggs, Cherita McIntye, Luz Dary McCarthy, Luis Mendoza, Gabrielle Paese, Danette Rodriguez, Maria Soares and Eric Zhin: seeing such wonderful role models from your industry was so exciting for the students and for all of us.


And finally, we thank our keynote speaker, Michelle Bella, for sharing her inspiring story and career advice with our students and volunteers. Thank you for joining us and demonstrating your commitment to HISPA’s mission. You are a role model to us all!


A special thanks to UPS and UPS Crecer. To Marina Batista, Axel Carrion, Jesus Gonzalez, Viviana Jimenez, Manfred Morales and Patrick Swaszek who, as UPS Crecer leaders, have contributed to multiple HISPA events in the past two weeks: hosting the HISPA Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event in New Jersey and conducting the conference’s morning ice-breaker activity to begin the day. Students and volunteers loved it, as they did the UPS bags! And to all the UPS Crecer hands who supported activities and logistical tasks throughout the day, thank you: Paul Falco, Nadia Kendrick, Monica Libertino, Julio Minaya, Natalie Raphael and Michelle Ynsinare.


A special thanks also to AT&T and AT&T HACEMOS. To Karla Kimble, Christine Liu, and both, the established and incoming HACEMOS members, for planning such a thoughtful and skilled workshop on current technologies for the the students. Thanks to Mayra Caceres, Isabel Cabrera, Pedro Mirabal and Drew Rada for your enduring grassroots support. And we are grateful to the entire team for their efforts:Omar Arafa, Arnav Bajpay, Jessica Bekampis, Teague Carney, Phil Cunningham, Samantha Gavrity, Raymond Hu, Michael Lee, Emily Lu, Jane Threefoot and Savant Vidya.


Thanks to Thomson Reuters and their Latino Employee Network (LEN). First to Alicia Garcia for opening the doors to HISPA and encouraging coworkers to become HISPA Role Models and conference volunteers and providing giveaway items to students. Your guidance and support is deeply appreciated, as was the presence of Veronica Arboleda, Paul Porras and Yvette Sanchez.


We also thank JPMorgan Chase and their business resource group Adelante for supporting all logistics, including welcoming the students, guiding them through Columbia University during the day, and making sure they attended and enjoyed the workshops: Gilberto Acosta, Vanessa Chavez, Lindsey Fierro, Anthony Montufar, Laura Mutis, Priscila Ortiz, Michelle Sanchez, Tomislav Segaric, Francisco Ventura and Iryna Watts.


Thank you to Joey Negron of CoolSpeak for ending the day with such positive high energy, making sure students took away one clear message: take action and achieve your dreams. It sounded like several students may be interested in following in your footsteps!


A special thanks to Damaris Garcia and Frank Gomez (ETS) as well as Walter Rodriguez (Verizon) for your willingness to go above and beyond to support us and becoming another HISPA member when we need one. The countless hours you’ve put into helping with innumerable tasks help us to pull off each and every event; we are so grateful to have you. Thank you to Samsung and Sonia Estevez for the giveaways and to all the wonderful HISPA Role Models and volunteers who supported all aspects of the conference up to and throughout the event: Cesar Angulo (IPG), Eban Beltran (TD Bank), Gabriela Monje (Congreso de Latinos Unidos) and Diana Morales (Grainger).


As always, thank you to Robert Figueroa, our photographer, for capturing the beautiful, inspirational moments shared by students and HISPA Role Models, and to our Annual Partners AT&T, Comcast, Educational Testing Service, ESPN, Verizon, Visa, and Southwest Airlines, HISPA’s official airline partner.


Thanks to you all, we are able to SHARE, INSPIRE and TRANSFORM!


Always Grateful,

Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, HISPA President
Mauricio Rodriguez-Lemonk, HISPA Events Director