ESPN sponsors Latino Youth Conference in NYC, April 4 event emphasized STEM careers, Hispanic role models

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:20am — webmaster

April 10, 2014, New York, NY – More than 70 volunteers from corporate Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), professional associations and academia came together on April 4 at the first annual HISPA NYC Youth Conference to deliver powerful messages on college readiness and career awareness to NYC middle school students. The day-long event, organized by Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with support from the Latina Researchers Network and Annie E. Casey Foundation.

ESPN was the Lead Sponsor of the Youth Conference and ESPN GOAL! members led a workshop entitled “ESPN University: Exploring Technology, Production and other Careers in Sports at ESPN. “ESPN has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion,” noted Monica Diaz, VP of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness at ESPN. “As part of this commitment, ESPN is proud to support GOAL!, our ESPN Hispanic Employee Resource Group, in partnering with HISPA to inspire young students to pursue higher education.” ESPN also supports the HISPA Role Model Program in New York public schools as a Transform Sponsor of HISPA NYC.

One hundred twenty 8th graders from Inwood Academy for Leadership spent the day with role models volunteers from ESPN and ESPN GOAL!, Bristol-Myers Squibb and BMS OLA, Viacom and Viacom SOMOS, Ogilvy & Mather and Ogilvy LatinRed, AT&T HACEMOS and UPS. Other volunteers came from the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the Latin@ Caucus of the School of Social Work at Columbia University.

The students were welcomed by the Latina Researchers Network, as over 250 Latina scholars with advanced STEM or social/behavioral science degrees gave the HISPA students a standing ovation. Silvia L. Mazzula, Ph.D. (Director of LRN and Assistant Professor, John Jay College) shared her own inspirational story of academic and career achievement with the HISPA students. LRN received

“This event testifies to the power of collaboration with outstanding partners who share a common vision,” said HISPA President Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse. “These organizations and volunteers joined forces today to help grow the Latino/a STEM education pipeline. Providing middle school students with a day of in Career Exploration workshops alongside Latino professionals and showcasing a university campus is critical to instilling a college-bound culture in schools in underserved communities.”

Other Event Sponsors were Bristol-Myers Squibb/BMS OLA and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. HISPA’s annual partners are Comcast, Educational Testing Service, and Southwest Airlines Co.

The conference theme was “Take Action! Achieve Your Dreams!” Its goal was to introduce students to a diverse group of role models, expose them to STEM career options and give them a glimpse of college campus life. A slate of new interactive career workshops emphasized how analytics, engineering, technology and research are used in entertainment, advertising and pharmaceutical industries. As in all such HISPA conferences, the program allowed the HISPA Role Model volunteers to share their own love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the students.

In the afternoon, hands-on Career Exploration workshops allowed students to work in a simulated “clean environment” at BMS OLA’s “Big Dreams Laboratories,” and to learn about creating advertising campaigns and original entertainment content for global audiences from Ogilvy & Mather LatinRed and VIACOM SOMOS, respectively.

Dr. Alicia Abella (AT&T HACEMOS), keynoted the conference. She is the Executive Director of the Innovative Services Research Department at AT&T Labs and spoke of the role of choices and hard work in achieving her educational and career dreams. The closing speaker was Carlos Ojeda, Jr. (CEO, CoolSpeak), whose talk focused on personal empowerment and never losing your voice. The students also heard from current college and graduate students on a “Life after High School” panel about developing grit and setting goals as part of pursuing higher education and careers

About HISPA:

Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) is a national organization dedicated to inspiring students to stay in school, excel and go on to higher education by mobilizing Latino professionals to serve as active role models.
To learn more about Latina Researchers Network (http://latinaresearchers.com).
Click on these links to learn more about ESPN / ESPN GOAL! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgTby-5AFhw) / ESPN Deportes (http://espndeportes.espn.go.com) or visit ESPN.com (http://espn.go.com)
to see more photos: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/76356429@N02/sets/72157643727617593/)