Role Model Program

Hispanic Professionals Commit to “A Future of Success for our Youth”

New York, Oct. 8, 2014 – Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) and the New York City Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) will host a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Kick-Off and Recruiting Event, at the Microsoft headquarters located at 11 Times Square on Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. HISPA and SHPE NYC leaders will be joined by professionals from academia, government, business and the non-profit sectors to commit to A Legacy of Stories, A Present of Action, A Future of Success for our Youth, the theme selected for the event. The event is sponsored by ESPN and its Latino/Hispanic employee resource group, GOAL!.

 HISPA is a New Jersey-based national non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to America’s future by inspiring Latino students’ academic performance and mobilizing Latino professionals to serve as role models in educational programs. Many of the professionals who have joined this initiative are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. To date, more than 1,500 Latino professionals have become volunteers supporting educational programs in New Jersey, New York City and San Antonio including members of SHPE in New York City, New Jersey and San Antonio.
The purpose of the Kick-Off and Recruiting Event is to highlight the organizations’ recent achievements, to recommit to providing support to students in New York City and to recruit new volunteers to serve as role models for students as part of the HISPA Role Model Program and in support of a variety of SHPE NYC educational initiatives. HISPA Role Models and SHPE NYC members visit classrooms, attend educational events and participate in youth conferences to share their personal and professional journeys, highlight their accomplishments and show students that it is ok to dream big and that through education they, too, can achieve their goals.
“The Kick-Off and Recruiting event is a unique way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, Ph.D., the founder and president of HISPA. “It is a special time to highlight the achievements of those who have joined our efforts to leave a legacy of stories as inspiration to students to pursue higher education.”
Edward Montenegro is the president of the New York City Chapter of SHPE. Since 1987, the organization has served as a networking system for Hispanic professionals in STEM fields, but today its members are most concerned with empowering local students from kindergarten through college to learn about the exciting careers in the STEM fields. “That’s why our organization collaborates with HISPA,” said Montenegro. “We know firsthand that encouragement from role models make a difference.”

“ESPN is proud to be the founding sponsor of HISPA in New York City,” said Monica Diaz, VP Diversity, Inclusion & Wellness at ESPN. “We value the strong relationship we have with sports fans in the Latino/Hispanic community, by engaging in the development of Latino/Hispanic youth.”
A panel of leaders in the private and public sectors will tell attendees how their volunteerism has impacted them on a personal and professional level. The panelists are René Herrera from Verizon, who is the National President of Verizon Hispanic Support Organization (HSO), Dr. Silvia Mazzula, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who is also the Director of Latina Researchers Network, and Antuan Santana, Operations and Community Manager at Microsoft New York Metro, the host of the event. The panel moderator, Rod Colón, is a career coach, author and radio host. Jill Simonson Luciano, regional leader of Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines, will deliver closing remarks.
HISPA’s annual corporate partners are Educational Testing Service, Comcast and Southwest Airlines. Other collaborators of HISPA in New York City include, CUNY Urban Initiatives, Ogilvy Latino Professional Network (LatinRed), Committee of Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF), and the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE).
For more information about HISPA and SHPE NYC visit:, Event information: