Youth Conferences

Princeton Conference Inspires Latino Youth to Achieve

Princeton, NJ, June 8 – More than 130 Latinos from New Jersey schools will gather at Princeton University on June 8 to learn from Latino professionals about academic achievement, careers and the real world workplace. Organized by Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Achievement and Performance (HISPA), the third annual Youth Leadership Conference has as its theme “Take Action! Achieve Your Dreams.”


 The 8th graders from Newark, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Red Bank will explore career options through a variety of workshops and interaction with Latino professionals from various corporations throughout the state.“The students will never forget this experience,” said Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, President of HISPA and a former AT&T scientist. “It features motivational speakers, a panel of university students discussing life after high school, hands-on workshops in a variety of STEM-related fields, and plenty of role models.”

Connecting Latino students with role models, particularly in STEM (technology, science, engineering and math), and exposing them to what it is like to be in a university setting are at the heart of the program. HISPA increases awareness of the importance of excelling in high school to a successful future and gives students the confidence to believe they can overcome any obstacle and achieve their goals.

Princeton University’s Human Resources department is the conference host, while AT&T is the co-host. The lead sponsor is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and PSEG is the event sponsor. Collaborator organizations are Educational Testing Service, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Siemens. Partner corporations are Cool Speak, Pulse Two, Samsung, Wells Fargo and Wendy Robinson Photography.

“The implications of demographic change are compelling,” says Yvette Donado, Senior Vice President of Educational Testing Service in Princeton, and a HISPA board member. “If we fail these youngsters, we also fail our state and, ultimately, our nation. Many will be the first in their families to experience a university environment. That is reason enough for ETS to support the program.”

Founded in 2008, as a New Jersey-based nonprofit, HISPA encourages middle and high school students’ to pursue high education through a novel Role Model Bureau. Its youth conferences enable corporate Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to support the bureau, in particular by showing youngsters what the workplace looks like.

ERGs supporting HISPA are those of AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Other role models come from the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) of New Jersey and Latino Princetonians. About 800 HISPA role models are available for 18 New Jersey middle schools.

Mauricio Rodríguez-Lemonk
Frank Gómez