Hispanic University Students and NY/NJ Professionals Inspire Students to “Take Action! Achieve their Dreams”

Celebrating Educational Achievement during Hispanic Heritage Month
Oct. 7, 2015 – In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, members of the Columbia University chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) will host a day-long Youth Conference at Columbia University with the theme “Take Action, Achieve Your Dreams.” Columbia SHPE members and HISPA Role Models including members of the ESPN Latino / Hispanic Employee Resource Group (ERG) Goal!, will serve as role models, sharing their educational and professional journeys with middle and high school students while participating in hands-on workshops.
Founded in 2006, HISPA places Latino professionals in middle schools to share their stories and inspire students to excel and to plan for higher education. Since its founding in New Jersey, HISPA has extended its Role Model Program to San Antonio, Texas and New York City, where it began in three schools in 2013. More than 100 students from three schools will attend the conference.
“Hosting our 17th youth conference during Hispanic Heritage Month is a very special way to celebrate the accomplishments of thousands of Latinos and their commitment to inspire the youth,” said Ivonne Díaz Claisse, Ph.D., founder and CEO of HISPA. “The speakers and volunteers include engineering students and professionals, who will showcase the power of education by sharing their stories of achieving higher education and having successful careers.”

In addition to hands-on workshops about app development, engineering and content development, Columbia alumna Alicia Abella, Ph.D., assistant vice president, Cloud Technologies and Services Research Organization at AT&T Labs, will be the keynote speaker. She will speak about “The Internet of Things,” explaining the many uses of the Internet and how it will continue to change our lives. In 2013, Dr. Abella received Columbia University’s Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to an alumnus or alumna, under 45 years of age, with an outstanding record in scholarship, public service, or professional life.
The students and volunteers will also enjoy inspirational remarks from April Hernández Castillo, an American film and television actress who has performed stand-up comedy and also has appeared on the television series ER, Law & Order and 30 Rock.
ESPN is the founding sponsor of HISPA in New York City. HISPA’s annual partners are Educational Testing Service, ESPN, Verizon, Comcast, and Southwest Airlines. Other volunteers participating include HISPA Role Models from the following organizations: Verizon Hispanic ERG HSO, AT&T Hispanic ERG HACEMOS, UPS Hispanic ERG Crecer, SHPE-New York City and the Latino Networks Coalition.
HISPA was recently recognized as a “Bright Spot” by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The initiative was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by Hispanics, and seeks to leverage and encourage collaboration between stakeholders focused on similar issues.
To view the “Bright Spots” in Hispanic Education national online catalog visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative, an