HISPA Hosts Youth Conference at Montclair State University to Empower Latino Middle School Students

HISPA Hosts Youth Conference at Montclair State University to Empower Latino Middle School Students


Passaic, New Jersey — March 27, 2024 — HISPA, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Latino youth through education, hosted its first-ever Youth Conference at Montclair State University yesterday, March 26th. The event, co-hosted by Montclair State University’s Office for Hispanic Initiatives and Prudential, inspired and educated 160 Latino middle school students from Passaic Public Schools about the opportunities available through higher education.

Themed “Take Action! Achieve your Dreams,” HISPA’s Youth Conferences are designed to provide Latino youth with firsthand exposure to college life and career paths alongside Latino role models—local professionals from high-skill careers. Activities included a college student panel on life after high school and interactive STEM career exploration workshops from providers Prudential (financial planning), Citi (career readiness), Merck (chemistry experiments), and Verizon (mathematics and graph theory). By offering these experiences on a college campus, HISPA ignites a passion for education and empowers young Latinos to pursue academic and professional success.

“We are excited to have partnered with Montclair State University and Prudential to host this transformative event for Passaic middle school students,” said Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, founder and CEO of HISPA. “Our Youth Conferences are many students’ first experience with higher education and play a crucial role in inspiring them to envision their futures and realize the endless possibilities available to them through education.”

HISPA’s Youth Conference at Montclair State University was also made possible by Lead Sponsor Citi, with additional funding provided by Merck and Verizon. Additionally, HISPA was honored to welcome Peter Collazo, Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), and TaLisa Ramos Watts, Associate Director of Student Affairs at Penn State University and CoolSpeak speaker, who delivered special remarks at the event.

“We are deeply grateful to Citi for their steadfast support of our organization and commitment to empowering Latino youth,” said Dr. Diaz-Claisse. “Their partnership enables us to make a lasting impact on the lives of young people in Passaic.”

HISPA’s educational programs are made possible by Founding Partners Verizon and Visa, Co-founding Partners and Supporters Merck, Bloomberg, Victoria’s Secret & Co., the PSEG Foundation, and Annual Partners Prudential, ETS, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

For more information about HISPA and its Youth Conferences, please visit www.hispa.org.