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Thank You for Being a Part of HISPA’s 25th Youth Conference

Dear HISPA Role Models, volunteers, and supporters,

All of us at HISPA would like to thank you for supporting our 2019 New York City Youth Conference. This was our fourth conference at Columbia University and our 25th conference to date—and what an outstanding success! This year, 150 students joined us from across New York City and New Jersey. Young scholars from Elizabeth, Passaic, Manhattan and the Bronx heard from inspirational and accomplished speakers and got their hands and minds busy in your workshops, all alongside 80 amazing role models. Mil gracias!  

As always, we would like to acknowledge you for your time, effort, dedication and support before the conference and throughout the day.

We must begin by thanking our hosts, the Columbia Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), who make this day possible. We cherish our collaboration and are grateful for you supporting all event logistics, hosting a workshop for students, and sharing your insights with them during the panel. Thanks to Leora Brovman for your eye-opening inspiration. Thanks to Marnie Whalen for offering welcoming remarks and for representing the Columbia University team by supporting Columbia SHPE in every decision made. Thanks to Brandon Cuevas, president of Columbia SHPE, for his leadership directing all operations to make this conference a reality, and to Perla Canales for working hand-in-hand with us, supporting Brandon, and preparing and presenting the STEM Major Trivia Bowl! workshop, which was exciting and informative for the attending students. Thank you to all the Columbia SHPE members who became part of the day: Adheli Gonzalez, Samuel Castro, Frankcarlos Castro, Victoria Cardenas, Veronica Montanez, Saul Partida, Peter Cruz-Grace, and Jeanie Handal.

Furthermore, we thank Deanna Kowal, Jimmy Sarmiento, Erin, Felix, Mark and Samuel for the on-site support at Alfred Lerner Hall and ensuring all logistics, technology and catering ran smoothly throughout the day.

Thanks to Elena Cabral for moderating the College Student Panel as well as the Columbia students who joined us to talk about life after high school. Your stories truly mean so much to our students; you make everything we try to communicate about college come to life for them.

We also thank Co-host and 2019 Co-Founding Partner Verizon along with the HSO team for being such a huge part of this event. A heartfelt thank you to Magda Yrizarry for serving as our keynote speaker and encouraging the students to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams, and to Maria Melchiorre and Olivia Paladino for supporting Magda’s outstanding presentation. To Martin Lopez for his leadership: his ongoing support and passion for education bring our events to life. To Walter Rodriguez for his commitment year after year, lending experience and guidance to head conference operations. To Mitch Sanchez and Jay Albino for creating and leading an engaging hands-on workshop that made words like “technology” and “engineering” visible in their lives in real and tangible ways. To Odiles Cardines and Ivan Berg for your continued support, making sure every conference is a success and that students take home cool gifts to remember the day. And finally, to Antonina Roman, Derrick Gwin, Miguel Martinez, Leon Gomez, and Rebecca Burgos for supporting us all day long, from event set-up to student dismissal.

We warmly thank Lead Sponsor ESPN and SOMOS for their support. We are grateful to have sponsors like you and hope you can join us at future events!

Our deep thanks to Sponsor Bristol-Myers Squibb and those from OLA for their collaboration. We love working with your team, from setting up the conference to bringing a lab to life for our students. Thanks to workshop leaders and presenters Tony Rodriguez, Denise Rivera, Alby Hubert, Claudia Generaux, Consuelo Ramos, Gowtham Lnu, Jairo Torres, Radha Ramakrishnan, Ritu Arora and Silvi Chacko. And a sincerely special thank you to Diana Gabriel for her great leadership and collaboration with HISPA.

Thank you to AT&T and the Aspire, oxyGEN and HACEMOS teams. A special thanks to Mayra Caceres who always shows up early, stays late, and brings a contagious, radiant enthusiasm for STEM to the students around her. We also thank Christine Liu and Philip Cunningham for leading the workshop presentation along with Emily Lu, Pedro Mirabal, Raymond Hu and Jason Swatsworth.

Thanks to the groups whose support made this event not only possible but informative and engaging. First to the Latino Networks Coalition for bringing many hands together, Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters, especially to Alicia Garcia, Rafael Martinez and Yvette Chiavaro-Sanchez for their leadership and for the volunteerism of Alejandra Sanchez, Yasmin Ramirez, Tamara Dews, Raquel Galan, Veronica Arboleda, Enrika Charles and Rogelio Escalona. Thank you to Anthem, Inc. for the items donated to teachers and speakers as well as to the volunteers who help to support the variety of tasks that pop up throughout the day: Beth Marmolejos, Julia Lounsberry, Mariela Meneses, William Garrido, Erica Pena, Evelyn Rodriguez-Rubio, Khalilah Abdullah, Claribel Blake and Patricia Pacheco.

We thank UPS and Crecer for waking students up with a stimulating morning hands-on activity: to Viviana Encarnacion for her outstanding leadership, communication, and support; to Steve Cox for guiding students and volunteers through the activity with clarity and enthusiasm; and to the entire team: Julio Minaya, Jessie Orellana, Frank Casalinho, Pablo Medina, Paul Falco, Eytone Ruiz, Luis Cabreja, Luis Morales and Michelle Ynsinare.

To Damaris Garcia of ETS for her support throughout the day of the event, taking care of whatever was needed as well as making sure all catering was on point for our students and volunteers. Thanks to Terri Flowers: her seemingly infinite hands guarantee success and excellence. And a very special thank you to Ruth Nicoli for supporting to all our conferences with amazing giveaways for the students and speakers.

A huge thanks to the Pariveda Solutions New York City team and Jorge Diaz Ortiz and Madison Wheeler for assembling and delivering all goodie bags for students, volunteers and teachers.

Thanks to our inspirational speaker Joaquin Zihuatanejo for his breath-taking presentation of encouragement, love and pursuing your goals—sometimes with surprising results. Thank you to Carlos Ojeda and Coolspeak for your many years of support. Students leave invigorated because of your and your amazing team of speakers!

Thanks to all those who joined us; who supported the distribution of materials, hands-on projects, lunch, tours; those who shared their stories and served as role models to New York and New Jersey youth; and everyone who supported any aspect of the conference throughout the day.

Thanks to Robert Figueroa for spending the day with us photographing the event and, as always, beautifully capturing the entire day. To view and download photos from the event, please visit HISPA’s flickr.

As always, special thanks to our Co-founding Partner the Verizon Foundation; Annual Partners Educational Testing Service, the PSEG Foundation, Visa, and Southwest Airlines, HISPA’s official airline partner; and our Annual Supporters Merck and Wells Fargo.

Thank you to EVERYONE who joined forces at the Columbia Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and HISPA’s 25th Youth Conference to SHARE, INSPIRE and TRANSFORM in New York City! We look forward to working with you again at future events. Mil gracias!