New York

HISPA NYC Youth Conference Postponed

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 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!

El Diario Covers HISPA’s Youth Conference at Columbia U

El Diario has recently covered HISPA’s March 15 Youth Conference at Columbia University.

Written by Carmen Molina Tamacas, the article was released April 2. You can read it in Spanish here:

You can also view photos from the event here:

Columbia SHPE Hosts HISPA’s 25th Youth Conference

HISPA Invites Latino Students to Dream of STEM Columbia SHPE Hosts HISPA’s 25th Youth Conference   Princeton, NJ, March 11, 2019 — Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement and Columbia Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (Columbia SHPE) will bring 150 Hispanic middle and high school students to Columbia University on March 15 for a day-long […]

In Newark, Hispanic Role Models Commit to Inspiring Student Achievement

Hispanic Role Models Commit to Inspiring Student Achievement

HISPA Celebrates Historic Kick Off with Hosts Prudential and Hispanic Heritage Network


Princeton, N.J. – Nonprofit HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement), Prudential and Hispanic Heritage Network (HHN), the company’s Hispanic-serving Business Resource Group, will host a diverse group of employees to kick off a new academic year of role model programs for New Jersey youth. Also in partnership with Wells Fargo Latin Team Member Network and Latino Networks Coalition, the annual HISPA Role Model Program Kick-Off and Recruiting Event, themed “With the Endless Power of Our Voices,” will be held September 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Prudential in Newark, N.J.

HISPA mobilizes Latino professionals to visit local classrooms, share their stories, and introduce students to college and career opportunities. This event will bring together more than 200 such professionals dedicated to inspiring Hispanic youth to achieve their full potential.

“Prudential’s role in piloting this program is to help one of the fastest growing populations in America find professional role models,” said Joe Hayes, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Prudential Group Insurance. “We are proud to host the HISPA event and support programming that connects Hispanic youth to unique opportunities for growth, putting them on a pathway to long-term, sustainable success and helping them achieve financial wellness.”

HISPA’s first Kick-Off was held ten years ago, shortly after the idea for HISPA first began when the organization’s now-CEO, Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, stepped into a Newark classroom. She saw so many young Hispanic students who reminded her of herself as a child and was moved to share the obstacles she faced growing up in Puerto Rico. As a girl with a passion for math, teachers doubted her ability and discouraged her from pursuing an advanced degree. She found a role model in a Puerto Rican professor who had earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in the U.S. Inspired, she went on to do the same.

After speaking, a young Latina approached her and said, “Now I know I can pursue a Ph.D., too.” Diaz-Claisse realized that Hispanic youth could not aspire to something they didn’t see. She left her ten-year career behind to lead HISPA.

HISPA has since made 984 classroom visits and reached more than 10,000 students.  The Kick-Off event will continue HISPA’s movement to share 20,000 stories by year 2020, an effort that continues forward because of recent funding from Wells Fargo, Investors Bank, the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development, and Southwest Airlines, HISPA’s official airline partner.

“I am in awe of what we have been able to accomplish since our first Kick-Off in 2008,” said Diaz-Claisse. “I began with the goal of recruiting 100 role models and today we have more than 2,500. I am honored to work with such accomplished volunteers and am excited to welcome more Hispanic professionals dedicated to inspiring the next generation.”

For more details or to register to attend, visit:

For more information about HISPA, visit

Hispanic Professionals Unite to Inspire New York City Youth

Hispanic Professionals Unite to Inspire New York City Youth National Nonprofit HISPA’s Conference Hosted by Columbia University Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers   Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) and Columbia Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) will host a Youth Conference at Columbia University for over 100 greater New York City area middle-school […]