HISPA Youth Conference at Montclair: THANK YOU!

Dear partners and volunteers of HISPA’s 2024 Youth Conference at Montclair State University,


We did it! HISPA’s first Youth Conference at Montclair State University was a great success because of your hard work and dedication. With the support of more than 40 volunteers, we delivered inspiration and information to nearly 150 students. We could not have made this impact without you. You brought your inspirational stories, expertise, and commitment to HISPA’s mission – we thank YOU!


To our co-sponsor, Montclair State University and the Office of Hispanic Initiatives: 

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Montclair State University and the Office of Hispanic Initiatives for co-sponsoring our efforts and your invaluable assistance in orchestrating this event. Your unwavering guidance supported every aspect–meticulous planning and logistics, technical assistance before and during the event, facilitating volunteer parking and bus drop-off, ensuring clear and effective signage, and much more. These efforts were instrumental in making the conference run smoothly. Special thank you to Marilyn Moya: you made organizing this conference a joy. You are truly amazing!


To our co-host, Prudential:

We are immensely grateful to our co-host, Prudential. Because of you, our deserving students from Passaic District Schools were able to visit a college campus—many for the first time—with access to inspirational role models and educational programming. It was a transformative experience, and your support made it possible.


To our lead sponsor, Citi:

We sincerely appreciate your generous financial support and thank Janet Arias-Martinez for serving as our liaison for the workshop. This sponsorship played a pivotal role in covering essential expenses related to food and logistics, ensuring the smooth operation and success of the event.


To our distinguished speakers and university students:

  • Carlina Torres, for your heartfelt opening remarks;

  • Dr. Katia Paz Goldfarb, for your leadership, vision, and warm welcome to our students and volunteers;

  • Nick Fuentes, for your inspirational keynote address and sharing your dad’s message: “échale ganas”;

  • Jose Rodas, Rafael Cinto, Shantal Proano, Wendy Palencia Lopez, and Emily Hernandez, you brought the college experience to life and we know the young students truly enjoyed learning about your journeys;

  • Michelle Hernandez, for your moving keynote address, sharing your passion for science, commitment to education, and touching celebration of your professor;

  • Anthony Rodriguez, for your exceptional musical performance and commitment to HISPA for over ten years;

  • Peter Collazo, for your motivational remarks sharing the obstacles you overcame to achieve higher education and a successful career in government;

  • TaLisa Ramos Watts, for your beautiful, uplifting message reminding the students about the importance of their voice and to “Shoot for the moon even if you miss you will land among the stars.”


To our fantastic event volunteers:

Thank you to ALL our volunteers from Prudential, Citi, Merck, and Verizon for hosting incredible workshops and participating energetically during the day. Your dedication to every aspect of the conference inspires us! Additionally, a big thank you to Sonia and Sara for your leadership joining the HISPA team for a day, high school student Emma, and our newest volunteers who joined us from FINRA, Seton Hall, and PCCC!

Please enjoy photos of the event here, and if you have additional photos, please feel free to share them with us so we can add them to the folder:



Con mucho cariño y apreciación,

Ivonne Diaz-Claisse and the HISPA Team