PRESS ADVISORY:PRINCETON, NJ – Latino professionals are looking to provide both inspirational and practical advice about educational and career prospects to more than 100 urban schoolchildren at a Princeton gathering on June 10th that will include presentations that range from space exploration to an “If you like Lady Gaga, do you like Elvis Presley too?” computer science workshop.
The middle-school students will also get a chance to experience what it’s like to be in a university setting during the third annual New Jersey HISPA 2011 Youth Conference: “Take Action! Achieve Your Dreams”. About 70 professionals and 130 students from Newark, Jersey City, Trenton, Perth Amboy and Red Bank will attend the one-day event at the Frist Campus Center on the Princeton University campus.
“We have developed an exciting program that we know the students will never forget that includes great speakers, a panel of university students discussing life after high school, hands-on workshops in a variety of STEM-related fields, and plenty of role models,” said Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, president of HISPA, which stands for Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement. “They will meet role models representing many cultural backgrounds and careers, and will have the unique opportunity to learn from their inspirational life stories and learn what actions they took to achieve their dreams.”
HISPA (www.hispa.org) is a New Jersey-based national non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to America’s future by inspiring Latino students’ academic performance and achievement, and mobilizing Latino professionals to serve as active role models in educational programs. The students attending the Princeton conference come from schools that participated in the HISPA Role Model Program during the 2010-2011 school year. To date, HISPA has reached more than 2,500 students through its year-round programs since its inception in September 2008.
In the computer science workshop called “If you like Lady Gaga, do you like Elvis Presley too?” students will discuss how online rating systems used by companies like Netflix, Pandora and Amazon are used to compare the likes and dislikes of millions of other people. NASA will tell them about diverse careers in space exploration. Other workshop topics include engineering and information technology.
The Inspirational Speaker will be Dr. Maria Garlock of Princeton University. She is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Program in Architecture and Engineering.
The Keynote Speaker is Abraham Lopez who serves in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration as the director of the Office of Hispanic and Faith-based Affairs. He is also the executive director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development (CHPRD).
The conference is co-hosted by the Office of Human Resources at Princeton University and its Employee Resource Group, Latino Princetonians; and AT&T and its Employee Resource Group, HACEMOS.
Corporate Sponsors for this year’s event are: Merck, PSE&G, Novartis, and Microsoft. In addition, two companies joined as Collaborators: Bristol-Myers Squibb and its Employee Resource Group, Unidad Hispana; and Verizon and its Employee Resource Group, HSO. Donors that provided scholarships are: Argent Associates; Kiwanis Club of Greater Freehold Area; Novartis’ Employee Resource Group, Hispanic Leadership Network; and Siemens. Other companies providing in-kind support include ETS; Samsung; Johnson & Johnson’s Employee Resource Group, HOLA; and Lemonk Group.
The schools attending this year’s conference are: Park Elementary School in Newark; Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School in Trenton; University Academy Charter School in Jersey City; McGinnis School in Perth Amboy; and Red Bank Middle School.
HISPA’S Role Model Bureau provides support to educational programs, which provides students an opportunity to learn about career possibilities in a variety of fields, including academia, public policy, business, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Role models have shared their life stories – with an emphasis on educational achievements and professional accomplishments – during visits in cities including New Brunswick, Paterson, West New York, Summit, Red Bank, Freehold, Passaic, Elizabeth, Union City and Perth Amboy.
One of HISPA’s key strategies is to support existing educational programs in which at least half of the students are Hispanic. It also partners with existing organizations that have mentoring programs.