HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that mobilizes Hispanic professionals to eradicate one key reason why our youth does not pursue education: a lack of role models. Via the HISPA Role Model Program, Youth Conferences, and Corporate Visits, our volunteers emphasize the importance of academics and demonstrate that all students can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.
HISPA Role Model Program
The HISPA Role Model Program engages HISPA Role Models to step into predominantly low-income, public middle schools in which Hispanics are the majority to share their stories and encourage student success.
HISPA Corporate Visits
HISPA Corporate Visits bring students to our sponsor’s corporate headquarters, allowing them to explore career options first-hand alongside HISPA Role Models, all in a professional business setting.
HISPA Youth Conferences
HISPA Youth Conferences unite hundreds of students and HISPA Role Models for a full day on an elite university campus to introduce college life and hands-on exploration of STEM-focused studies and careers.
To mobilize Hispanic professionals to serve as active role models in schools and educational programs in their communities.
To contribute to America’s future by inspiring Hispanic students’ academic performance and achievement.
BACKGROUND & NEED
“Together, we can succeed.”
In 2007, Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse spoke at a nearby school. She shared the obstacles she faced growing up in Puerto Rico with a love for math: teachers doubted her ability and discouraged her from pursuing her degree. She found a role model in a Puerto Rican professor who had earned his Ph.D. in math in the U.S. Inspired, she went on to do the same.
After sharing her story, a young Latina approached her and said, “I love chemistry. Now I know I can pursue a Ph.D., too.” Her mission became clear: Hispanic youth could not aspire to something they didn’t see. She founded HISPA to address this need.
The U.S. Hispanic population is among the largest and expected to grow from 55 to 119 million by 2060. However, while 90% of Hispanics say college is important, only 48% plan to enroll, and fewer than 10% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Unless students believe they can achieve, they are at an increased risk of dropping out—and indeed, the Hispanic dropout rate is the highest of all major racial and ethnic groups. This has huge consequences as jobs demand more education and Hispanics make up more of the workforce.
Research shows that early intervention, especially during the middle school years, is key to reducing dropout rates. It also points to a strong correlation between having a role model and a student’s pursuit of higher education. HISPA unites students with successful, relatable role models during this critical period to increase students’ awareness of education as a means to succeed.
Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse – HISPA PRESIDENT & CEO
AWARDS, HONORS & RECOGNITIONS
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” (2015); New Jersey Hispanic Leadership Association Education Award (2014); Princeton University Service Award for exemplary service and dedicated leadership (2013); Latino Institute 2013 award for supporting Latino students at all levels; New Jersey Institute of Technology Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Educator of the Year Award (2012); Verizon Hispanic Support Organization Community Service Award (2012); Save Latin America, Inc. Tres Próceres Award (2011); and New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center Distinguished Maria De Castro Blake Outstanding Community Service Award (2010). Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse was also inducted into Trenton YWCA’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
If you are interested in learning more about HISPA, including ways to get involved as an individual, school, or company, please contact us at email@example.com or send us a message in the following box: