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 hispakickoff.org.
For more information about HISPA, visit www.hispa.org.
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 […]
THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: MY VISIT TO AN 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.
Princeton, NJ, August 11, 2020 — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has named 12 individuals and three organizations as recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) was one of the three organizations recognized with the highest national mentoring award bestowed by the U.S. government upon mentors who work to expand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent.
Nominations are accepted from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States territories which includes American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Presidential award for STEM mentors
Established in 1995, the PAESMEM has honored the hard work and dedication which mentors exhibit in broadening participation in the STEM pipeline.
PAESMEM recognizes the critical role mentors play outside the traditional classroom setting in the academic and professional development of the future STEM workforce. Colleagues, administrators, and students nominate individuals and organizations for exemplary mentoring sustained over a minimum of five years.
A panel of outstanding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, STEM education researchers, STEM educators, and other STEM or STEM-related professionals review nominations. Recommendations are sent to OSTP for final selection.
Awardees serve as leaders in the national effort to develop fully the nation’s human resources in STEM. Protégés are students and early career STEM and STEM-related professionals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, women, persons with disabilities, and persons from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
HISPA is a non-profit organization founded in 2007. The organization mobilizes Hispanic professionals to serve as role models to inspire Latino students to discover their potential, igniting their desire to embrace education and achieve success. By uniting students with successful role models with whom they share a cultural and/or linguistic background, HISPA’s educational programs aim to establish a college-going culture and expose underserved populations to a range of postsecondary educational and career opportunities—especially in STEM fields, in which Latinos have historically been under-represented.
Established in New Jersey, HISPA expanded to Texas in 2011; to New York in 2013; to Florida in 2016; and to Pennsylvania in 2019. To date, HISPA has grown from 100 to 3,000 HISPA Role Models and have held over 1,500 Role Model Program sessions, 30 Youth Conferences, and many Corporate Visits, reaching over 15,500 students.
“The Presidential Award represents the opportunity for HISPA to recognize the thousands of individuals—our HISPA Role Models—who have stepped into classrooms and, with their stories, inspired Latino students to discover their potential,” said HISPA President and CEO Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse. “This award means HISPA can celebrate and honor the mentors who have invited our youth to their corporations and colleges, leading lab tours and workshops that have ignited students’ desires to embrace STEM education and achieve academic and professional success.”
Dr. Díaz-Claisse was inspired to found HISPA after speaking to students at a New Jersey school. She shared the obstacles she faced growing up in Puerto Rico with a love for math: as a Latina, 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, “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, with a special focus on STEM subjects. Today, over 50% of HISPA Role Models hold a degree in a STEM field or applied science, such as medicine or healthcare.
HISPA’s 2019-20 educational programs were made possible by Co-founding Partners and Supporters the PSEG Foundation, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck; and Annual Partners and Supporters: Educational Testing Service, UPS, Visa, and Southwest Airlines.
Impacto Latino, the newspaper established in 1967 to serve the Latino community in New York and the United States, featured HISPA’s recognition with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the highest national mentoring award bestowed by the White House.
You may read it below, or visit: https://impactolatino.com/hispa-recibe-el-premio-presidencial-stem/.
HISPA recibe el Premio Presidencial STEM
La organización hispana sin fines de lucro HISPA fue reconocida con el premio más alto otorgado por el gobierno de los EE. UU..
Establecido en 1995, el premio presidencial (PAEMST) honra la excelencia en mentoria en las areas de Ciencias, Technologia, Ingeniería y Matemáticas (STEM).
Lo que reconoció a HISPA, (Hispanos que Inspiran el Desempeño y los Logros de los Estudiantes) por su trabajo duro y dedicación para expandir el talento de grupos históricamente subrepresentados en el campo STEAM, en el que jóvenes latinos también se han visto menos favorecidos.
“El Premio Presidencial representa la oportunidad para que HISPA reconozca a miles de personas, (nuestros modelos a seguir de HISPA), quienes han entrado en los salones de clase, y quienes con sus historias han inspirado a los estudiantes latinos a descubrir su potencial”, dijo la presidenta y directora ejecutiva de HISPA, Dra. Ivonne Díaz -Claisse.
Dra. Díaz-Claisse, es la fundadora de la organización precisamente inspirada tras propiamente haver enfrentado obstáculos al buscar obtener su Ph.D. en matemáticas como latina. Ella dijo que los maestros dudaban de su capacidad y la desanimaban para obtener su título.
Posteriormente encontró un modelo a seguir en un profesor puertorriqueño que había obtenido su Ph.D. en matemáticas en los EE. UU. quien la inspiro para poder alcanzarlo.
Su misión quedó clara: la juventud hispana no podía aspirar a algo que no veía. Por lo que fundó HISPA con un enfoque especial en las materias STEM para abordar esta necesidad con mentores calificados que dan apoyo a los jóvenes e ingreso a estos ámbitos.
“Este premio significa que HISPA puede celebrar y honrar a los mentores que han invitado a nuestros jóvenes a sus corporaciones y universidades, liderando recorridos por laboratorios y talleres a su vez han encendido los deseos de los estudiantes de adoptar la educación STEM y lograr el éxito académico y profesional” añadió.
Hasta la fecha, HISPA, con un campo en Nueva York ha crecido de 100 a 3,000 mentores HISPA y ha realizado más de 1,500 sesiones del programas de modelos a seguir, 30 conferencias de jóvenes y muchas visitas corporativas, para allegarse y atender a más de 15,500 estudiantes hispano hablantes.
Con el alto reconocimiento los premiados de este año servirán como líderes en el esfuerzo nacional para desarrollar plenamente los recursos humanos de la nación en las materias STEM.
ETS’s Center for Advocacy & Philanthropy proudly supported this year’s Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) Role Model Program.
During the 2019-2020 school year, the Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) Role Model Program coordinated 286 school visits by role model volunteers to 34 schools. The program brings professionals into schools to share their educational and career journeys with students with an emphasis on the importance of higher education and future goals.
Visiting a group of eighth-graders in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Daniel Hernandez, an ETS Research Software Developer and HISPA Role Model, shared, “Presenting my story to the students was a very rewarding experience and made me feel good about myself knowing the value I bring to the community.”
Ernest Battle, Assessment Specialist in Assessment Learning and Technology Development K–12, served as a HISPA Role Model in a San Antonio school. “I let the students know that unimaginable positive outcomes can result by simply saying ‘yes’ to new challenges and opportunities,” said Battle.
As a strategy to further motivate students, HISPA has developed “20,000 Inspirational Stories for Our Youth.” This web-based resource allows students to search for stories by various topics, including country of heritage, colleges attended, degrees obtained and obstacles overcome. With the support of ETS’s UNIDOS Business Resource Group, Alberto Acereda, Celeste Eppinger, Yvonne Kuykendall, Sylvia Ledesma and Nate Santana have added their stories to the platform.
Learn more about HISPA and find out how you can get involved.
Mr. Rogers famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Right now, we seem to be faced with troubling news every day. But at HISPA, we are fortunate to be surrounded by helpers. During this Month of Gratitude, HISPA wanted to take time to acknowledge those who bring esperanza y amor to their communities.
Every day, we will bring you a small story of hope and love–from our funders, volunteers, and students. We cannot change the news, but we can find a moment to be grateful for the good that surrounds us.
Princeton, NJ – By 2036, it is predicted that one in three students in U.S. public schools will be of Hispanic heritage. However, the proportion of Hispanic students who do not graduate from high school is twice as high as that of non-Hispanic white students. One potential reason for this disparity? A lack of access to relatable role models.
HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement) has been in the forefront of addressing this problem and creating successful solutions through its programs. In 2017, HISPA began the ‘20,000 Stories for 2020’ project, a dedicated effort to expand its programs and ramp up the number of stories shared by HISPA Role Models. One of these programs is ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’, a web-based platform to collect Hispanic role models’ stories and share them in one place, all in a way that is easily accessible by Hispanic youth, their parents, teachers and counselors. This platform will be especially critical in light of mounting concerns over the coronavirus known as COVID-19, which is prompting schools to close and many programs to come to a halt.
“HISPA Role Models are experts in story-telling. For 13 years, we have mobilized successful, highly-skilled Latino professionals to share their stories and serve as role models for Latino youth,” said HISPA President and CEO Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse. “However, HISPA is based on the belief that everyone deserves access to role models. With ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’, Latino students everywhere will be able to access these stories, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in HISPA programs.”
HISPA is currently in the first phase of ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’, working with several organizations to collect an initial batch of 300 stories. The collection will grow from there as HISPA seeks student feedback and continues outreach to their entire professional network.
HISPA will be collecting these stories as writing, audio recording, and video. The stories will focus on role models’ lives: their backgrounds, the obstacles they have overcome, and the paths they have taken to college and career success. Ultimately, students will be able to filter the ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’ results based on gender, ethnicity, field of study and career to find role models and stories that most align with their interests.
Over the coming weeks, HISPA will be providing information on how to gain access to the ‘20,000 Stories for our Youth’ platform.
In an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the health and safety of our students, teachers, volunteers, and their families, HISPA will be postponing its New York City Youth Conference at Columbia University, previously scheduled for March 13, 2020. This decision was made with the input of HISPA’s Board of Directors in light of increasing real and perceived public health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
We carefully considered many factors in making this decision. After closely monitoring the situation, heeding the cautions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and learning that multiple partners are exercising non-essential travel restrictions, we decided to postpone this event indefinitely.
HISPA strives to improve the lives of our students, and nothing brings us greater joy than providing them valuable learning opportunities. However, we feel that this proactive measure is in the best interest of everyone involved.
We appreciate all the energy and hard work everyone put into planning and preparing for this event. Thank you to our hosts—Columbia, SHPE and Brandon Cuevas—and event sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb, Verizon, and Refinitiv. We are also grateful to our workshop providers: AT&T, UPS, Columbia University SHPE, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Verizon, and Refinitiv.
This wasn’t an easy decision, and we thank everyone for their understanding.
Thank you to everyone who joined us last night for the Three Kings Banquet! It was our largest banquet yet, and we were so pleased to spend it with so many friends, volunteers, and supporters.
HISPA unveiled its new mission statement last night:
HISPA inspires Latino students to discover their potential and ignites their desire to embrace education and achieve success.
And as I said last night, this academic year HISPA will surpass 1,500 Role Model Program school visits, impacting more than 15,000 students. We are able to accomplish this, we are able to lead students to discover their own greatness and potential,
because so many organizations have joined forces with us and with each other to eradicate the lack of role models in the lives of our students.
Last night demonstrated the power of what happens when people come together. We hope even more will join us as we enter 2020 and begin this new decade.
You may view photos of this event at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/76356429@N02/albums/72157712796215628