Author Archive

From Verizon: “‘You’re my new role model’: V Teamer inspires Latino youth with her career journey”

‘You’re my new role model’: V Teamer inspires Latino youth with her career journey | Verizon [Reposted from Verizon — view the original at] Lorraine Nieto, director for client services in Verizon Partner Solutions, enjoys sharing her career journey with middle and high school students as part of her work with Citizen Verizon Volunteers. […]

From News@Rider: “Rider announces continued participation in HISPA’s Latinos in College Program”

Rider announces continued participation in HISPA’s Latinos in College Program Monday, Oct 17, 2022 16 students will benefit from additional professional development [Reposted from News@Rider – Read the original article at] For the second year in a row, Rider University will participate in HISPA’s Latinos in College program. HISPA, which stands for Hispanics Inspiring Students’ […]

Latinos Unite as Role Models to Inspire Our Future Leaders

Latinos unite as role models to inspire our future leaders

Nonprofit organization HISPA celebrates 15 years of service at Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event


From September 15 to October 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Americans. Nonprofit organization HISPA will celebrate this occasion—and embark on its 15th year of educational programming—during its hybrid HISPA Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event.

Since 2007, over 3,000 HISPA volunteers have shared and celebrated their heritage in classrooms and beyond, showing young Latinos that they too can achieve their dreams. Inspired by their spirit and this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month observance theme, HISPA’s Kick-Off and Recruiting Event is themed “UNIDOS: Inspiring Latino Students for a Stronger Nation”.

This hybrid event will unite HISPA Role Models from across the U.S. to support students in New Jersey, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania. HISPA invites guests to celebrate and learn more about the organization at Montclair State University on September 29, 2022, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Guests may also attend virtually. Together, HISPA aims to make a record 500 HISPA Role Model visits during the 2022-23 academic year.

HISPA is excited to welcome several esteemed speakers to the event, including pre-recorded remarks by Dr. Miguel Cardona (Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education) and 2021 National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey, in-person remarks by Dr. Jorge L. Valdes (Education Program Advisor, Office of Education and Outreach at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) and NJ Governor’s Hispanic Fellows alumnus William Martinez, and live virtual remarks by Alicia Baturoni Cortez (STEM Engagement Embed to Human Spaceflight, Exploration Development and Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA).

HISPA would like to thank Montclair State University for hosting this event and Dr. Katia Paz Goldfarb, Associate Provost for Hispanic Initiatives and International Programs, for serving as a great ambassador of HISPA’s mission. 

“As we get ready to start year 15 of connecting Latinos from the public and private sector with our youth, our great sense of urgency continues,” said HISPA Founder and CEO Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse. “As Latino student enrollment grows, more schools are reaching out for our services. Validating Latino students’ dreams by showing them the many pathways forward is a priority for a stronger nation.”

HISPA would also like to thank those who make HISPA’s work possible: Founding Partners Verizon and Visa; Co-founding Partners and Supporters Merck, the U.S. Navy, Bristol Myers Squibb, Victoria’s Secret & Co., and Bloomberg; and Annual Partners PSEG and Educational Testing Service. 

Registration is open—commit to inspiring Latino students to discover their potential, embrace education, and achieve success! To register, visit

For more information about HISPA, visit

NJ Governor’s Hispanic Fellow Speaks of Program’s Impact During Graduation Speech

The New Jersey Governor’s Hispanic Fellows class of 2022 graduated on July 29. Funded and overseen by the State of New Jersey’s Center for Hispanic Policy, Research, and Development (CHPRD) in collaboration with HISPA, the 8-week program prepared 17 college-going Latinos to excel in their future endeavors via internships and professional development workshops. This summer […]

HISPA President & CEO Visits the USS George H. W. Bush Aircraft Carrier


I am forever grateful to Rear Admiral Dennis Velez, Commander Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, and everyone who serves with him. Because of them, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier and experience firsthand the day-to-day operations of this impressive Warship.

This was the experience of a lifetime. From the unexpected landing—going from 135 mph to 0 in two seconds—to witnessing the sheer magnitude of the initiative (there are over 5,000 members on board!), I was truly in awe. I was inspired by the great commitment to the responsibilities and highly specialized tasks of each person I met—including three TOPGUN pilots. I proudly dined with Admiral Velez and his Flag Aide and connected with them over our shared Puerto Rican heritage. I quietly reflected on George H. W. Bush’s life and legacy of service, which started when he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday. And, of course, the catapult take-off left me speechless; the only way I can describe it is feeling as if I was being pulled into a black hole. As I prepared for it, I repeatedly told myself, “If Ellen Ochoa went to space, I can and will overcome the physical challenge of the catapult” (full disclosure: I suffer from vertigo!). 

It was such a great honor to spend 24 hours with so many inspirational leaders that—as an optimizer—I wanted to find little ways to contribute, to contribute ‘mi granito de arena’. I can confidently share that I brought a smile to three Latinas at the carrier store by sharing how proud I was of them and giving them HISPA pins. I connected two young Colombian sailors who had not met and made sure I spoke to them about the importance of peer mentoring. I brought books written by dear friends to the carrier library to diversify their collection of literature and to pass on their amazing contributions. I left behind a ‘serigrafia’ de Puerto Rico so those who are missing home might unexpectedly find this picture and smile remembering their island. 

Some have asked me, “What made you say yes to this trip?” I asked myself that, too—especially as we approached landing on the aircraft carrier! My answer? I am always searching for and providing leadership development opportunities for others, and I felt it was my turn to grow. It was my turn to learn from the leadership of individuals like Rear Admiral Velez, the Carrier’s Commanding Officer, Capt. David-Tavis Pollard and the Executive Officer, Capt. Nicholas C. DeLeo. I took in their core values and their vision to embody a legacy of service, grit, humility, and resilience. 

These lessons, as always, bring me back to my own work and remind me of the HISPA Role Models. We all come from the public and private sectors, bring stories of grit and perseverance to others, and serve our community with humility. Like those I met at sea, HISPA Role Models are an invaluable group of leaders who together are changing the future of America—one story at a time.

Virtual Celebration Supports Inspirational Programs for Latino Youth

Princeton, NJ – Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) will hold its annual awards and fundraising event virtually on January 13, 2022, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. EST. The Three Kings Banquet – A Virtual Celebration will unite HISPA supporters across the country to honor the Hispanic and Latinx role models who support HISPA’s educational programs and raise funds for these programs.

HISPA is a nonprofit organization that conducts programs in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. It has served over 18,000 students to date by mobilizing over 3,000 role models. Their message to Hispanic and Latinx youth: you, too, can discover your potential and achieve your dreams through education.

The Three Kings Banquet coincides with the January 6 holiday of The Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, the traditional gift-giving period of the Nativity in many Spanish-speaking countries. HISPA selected this time to thank the volunteers and patrons who share their gifts to support educational equity and opportunity for all students.

Each year, HISPA bestows awards to those who excelled in their commitment to, participation in, and financial support of the organization. HISPA will present its Leadership in Mentoring Award to Verizon, its “Transform” Award for Sponsor of the Year to Bloomberg, its “Inspire” Award for Champion of the Year to Association of Naval Services Officers President Captain Roy Love, USN (Ret.), and its “Share” Award for Role Model of the Year to Dr. Michelle Hernandez, Occupational Toxicology Associate Director at Merck. Dr. Mary Fernandez, a nonprofit strategy consultant and 14-year HISPA supporter, will receive the “Corazón” Award for her invaluable in-kind support.

“We are excited to celebrate the HISPA supporters who showcased pathways to higher education and inspired students to set goals to achieve their dreams,” said HISPA President and CEO Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse. “The Three Kings Banquet allows all of us to bring attention to the critical role our HISPA Role Models play in securing the future of our country.”

Joining us for this event are Diamond Sponsor Bloomberg; Gold Sponsors Bristol Myers Squibb and their Organization for Latino Advancement as well as Merck and Alianza, Silver Sponsors PNC Bank and UPS; and Bronze Sponsors Amazon, Verizon SOMOS, the Shepard/Zanders family, and the Diaz family.

Additional sponsors include Prudential, Beyond Parallel 32 LLC, the Norm Brodsky College of Business at Rider University, Alicia Garcia and the London Stock Exchange Group Latino Network, Miguel Porto, and Walter and Jennifer Rodriguez. 

HISPA’s annual funders include Founding Partner Verizon, Co-Founding Partners Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, and the United States Navy, and Annual Partners Educational Testing Service, PSEG Foundation, and Bloomberg.