Youth Conferences

STEM Careers and Latino Role Models are Focus of May 16 Youth Conference in San Antonio

Princeton, NJ (April 25, 2014) – Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), will partner with St. Mary’s University in San Antonio to host its fourth STEM- focused HISPA Youth Conference on Friday, May 16, 2014. The day-long event is themed “Take Action, Achieve Your Dreams,” and will take place at the University Center on the St. Mary’s University campus.


Founded in 2006, HISPA places Latino professionals in middle schools to tell their stories and inspire students to excel and plan for higher education. Since its founding in New Jersey, HISPA has registered over 1000 role models and extended its Role Model Program and Youth Conferences to San Antonio, Texas and New York City.

“We are so excited to offer this youth conference each year. This program is testimony to the power of collaboration with outstanding partners who share a common vision,” states HISPA Founder and President Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse. “We increase our impact in the community when our HISPA volunteers from the public, private and non-profit sectors and academia join forces to help grow the Latino education pipeline.”

The conference supports the development of a college-going culture in the home and schools in underserved communities. The HISPA Youth Conference will provide middle school students with a day of Career Exploration workshops alongside Latino professionals (many with advanced degrees). It also exposes them to life on a university campus.

“St. Mary’s University is pleased to be the co-host of the HISPA San Antonio Youth Conference,” says Dr. Rosalind V. Alderman, Assistant Vice President for Retention Management. “Much like HISPA, we at StMU are dedicated to the success of our diverse student body, including many low-income students who are first in their families to attend college. St. Mary’s University recognizes the power of role models and mentors to inspire students to excel. We also know that we need to introduce students to the support systems that advance educational attainment.”

One hundred fifty students from Anson Jones Middle School / Northside ISD will participate in the conference, a component of the 2013-14 HISPA Role Model Program at their school. Morning sessions will feature inspirational speakers and the afternoon will include a slate of hands-on STEM career exploration workshops.

The Lead Sponsor for the youth conference is Educational Testing Services (ETS). “HISPA’s work and mission are so aligned with our own,” said Yvette Donado, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of ETS. “We are committed to diversity as a guiding principle and strive to advance quality and equity in education by creating fair and valid assessments based on rigorous research. We have about 400 employees at our K-12 Division headquarters in San Antonio. We are grateful to our employees in San Antonio who have volunteered as HISPA Role Models and will support the conference in many ways before and during the event.”

HISPA’s corporate annual partners are Educational Testing Service, Comcast and Southwest Airlines.

Dr. Laura Rendon of The University of Texas at San Antonio will keynote the conference. She is co-director of The Center for Research and Policy in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. The center’s work informs the educational community about critical factors that affect the academic success of key student groups. Dr. Richard Cardenas, Chair of the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences at St. Mary’s University, will also address the students while Carlos Ojeda, Jr. (CEO, CoolSpeak) will deliver his inspirational message of educational empowerment.

Volunteer registration, breakfast and networking starts at 8am and the students will attend from 9am to 2:30pm. Immediately following the conference, a reception will be held for the volunteers. To inquire about volunteering opportunities, please contact Herlinda Sifuentes (HISPA San Antonio Operations Director / 210-414-4177 or or Rudy Kiste (HISPA Youth Conference Director / 732 915-0960 or To inquire about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tricia Adams at 609-649-3715 or

About HISPA:
Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to proactively encouraging students’ success by providing them with a unique Role Model Program through strategic alliances with educational partners and professionals from the public and private sectors. For more information, visit

About ETS:
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis SeriesTM assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. For more information, visit