March 1, 2013, San Antonio, TX – Latino professionals joined forces to provide both inspirational and practical advice about educational and career prospects to 250 students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Hands-on activities included presentations that ranged from the physics behind rocketry to archeology.
The middle-school students experienced what it’s like to be in a university setting during the third annual San Antonio 2013 Youth Conference: “Take Action! Achieve Your Dreams.” The conference was organized by Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), 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. This year’s keynote speaker was Shayla Rivera, the Funny Rocket Scientist. Rivera showcased her career in engineering and her past work experience with NASA.
“The students will never forget the exciting program of outstanding 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 Jorge Escobar, HISPA Board Member. “The 8th graders met professionals and university students representing many cultural backgrounds and careers, and had the unique opportunity to learn what actions they took to achieve their dreams.” Conference sponsors included Educational Testing Service (ETS), Southwest Airlines and Staybridge Suites.
For the second year, the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives was the co-host of the program. The office works to increase the college-going rate of Texans by assisting students who are traditionally undeserved and underrepresented in higher education. “At UTSA, we are proud to secure partnerships within our communities that strengthen our mission to ensure that students are college ready when they enroll in post-secondary institutions,” said Rachel Ruiz, Assistant Vice President, UTSA, Office of P-20 Initiatives.
The success of the HISPA Youth Conference is also the result of HISPA’s collaboration with outstanding partners that share a common vision. HISPA is honored to have had the support of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI). Dr. Juan Andrade, President of USHLI, provided an outstanding inspirational address as part of USHLI’s Student Leadership Series. The Series engaged 71,000 students in 2012. HISPA and USHLI have an on-going partnership focused on inspiring Latino youth to pursue higher education.
HISPA partnered with the University of Phoenix, St. Mary’s University, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the National Hispanic University, CoolSpeak, Shayla Rivera, and the Civil Engineering Consultants.
Other supporting organizations included the Texas Chapter 13 173rd Airborne Brigade Association that provided scholarships for the students; College Board, NACME, Adelante, MAES, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Café College.
For additional photos, please see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76356429@N02/sets/72157632923234104/.