The 2018 NJ Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Have a Great Start
Princeton, NJ, June 8, 2018 — “I learned many life lessons that I will take with me forever, but besides that I finally had a feeling in my heart that my dreams could come true.”
Ana Olivera, a sophomore at Rutgers University – Newark, is reflecting on her first day as a Fellow in the New Jersey Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program. The program successfully launched on Friday, June 1, with Educational Testing Service (ETS) Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy (CAAP) hosting the Fellows’ Class of 2018 at its Princeton headquarters.
Sponsored by the State of New Jersey and overseen by the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development (CHPRD), the Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program is a competitive, eight-week summer program that recruits 20 Hispanic and Latino college students from across New Jersey. These Fellows are then placed in internships with partnering organizations from public and private sectors. They also participate in weekly workshops coordinated by the nonprofit organization Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) to build professional networks and foster leadership skills key to lifelong success. In addition to ETS, this year’s host organizations include Princeton University, AT&T, UPS, Wells Fargo, CHPRD, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Several State of New Jersey senior staff members took part in the kick-off: Secretary of State Tahesha Way, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tiffany Williams, and Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development Sara Peña. Scott Nelson, ETS Senior Vice President of Strategy, Marketing & Growth and Chief Marketing Officer, and Lenora Green, Executive Director of CAAP, provided special remarks.
Jeffrey Vega, President and CEO of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, served as keynote speaker. Vega himself graduated from the Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program in 1989. The program began 30 years ago to address the unique challenges Hispanic and Latino college students can face, including a lack of professional and leadership development opportunities, career networks and role models.
In addition to HISPA President and CEO Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse’s testimony to what is possible with tenacity and higher education, the day concluded with workshops with career strategist and corporate trainer Rod Colón and leadership development coach Jeanette Iglesias.
“Those two workshops really challenged me to…learn about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, how to be proud of my background, and to be confident in what I say and what I do,” said Fellow Jasmine Burgos, a Rowan University student.
The Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program will continue its collaboration with HISPA on Friday, June 8. The Fellows will participate in the ‘Latinos in College’ Track of the HISPA Youth Conference, in partnership with the Graduate School at Princeton University and co-hosted by AT&T. The full-day conference will include corporate, academic, government and nonprofit speakers as well as a panel of graduate students. In addition to providing the Fellows an opportunity to share their stories as role models to New Jersey youth, this and future workshops will provide exceptional opportunities for leadership development and to build a network of mentors.