Youth Conferences

Young Latinos to Learn from Role Models about Taking Action to Achieve their Dreams at One-day Conference

San Antonio, TX – Hispanic professionals from diverse backgrounds will give inspirational and educational advice to Latino middle school students at a conference at the University of Texas at San Antonio Main Campus on March 1. Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), a nonprofit organization that connects Hispanic role models with students, is presenting its third San Antonio conference for 250 middle school students from the San Antonio ISD and Northside ISD.


 The Youth Conference, themed “Take Action! Achieve your Dreams,” will offer hands-on career workshops focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Nationally recognized inspirational speakers, Shayla Rivera, the Funny Rocket Scientist, and Dr. Juan Andrade, president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), are among those joining for the one-day conference.“We want to make sure that students have an unforgettable day filled with educational and inspirational experiences,” said Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, president and founder of HISPA. “The speakers and volunteers are focused on showcasing how, through education, they took action to achieve their dreams. We know that with our stories we will inspire them and transform their future.” Conference sponsors include Educational Testing Service (ETS), Southwest Airlines and Staybridge Suites.
HISPA has worked closely with Belinda Saldaña, UTSA director of community outreach, in developing an exceptional program for students and volunteers. “This event truly supports our UTSA P-20 vision, that college completion is possible,” said Saldaña. “The earlier we can get students excited about higher education and the difference it can make in their future, the more we can make this vision a reality in San Antonio.”
The UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives will again co-host the program. The office works to increase the college-going rate of Texans by assisting students who are traditionally underserved and underrepresented in higher education. As a comprehensive university and system-wide effort, the Office of P-20 Initiatives promotes educational access and college readiness through collaborative programming. “At UTSA, we are proud to secure partnerships within our communities that strengthen our mission to ensure that students are college ready when they enroll in post-secondary institution,” said Rachel Ruiz, Assistant Vice President, UTSA, Office of P-20 Initiatives.
Following the Youth Conference, HISPA Role Models and volunteers are invited to attend a professional development program and reception from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom 2 on the UTSA Main Campus. To attend, email

During the 2012-13 academic year, the HISPA Role Model Program is being offered at Anson Jones Middle School and Cable Elementary School. HISPA Role Models will visit schools to share their life stories with an emphasis on their educational and professional achievements. A key HISPA strategy is to support existing educational programs in which at least half of the students are Hispanic. HISPA partners with organizations that already have mentoring programs and with professional organizations looking for opportunities to make an impact in their communities.

CONTACT: Mauricio Rodríguez – HISPA Operations Director – Tel. 917-531-5392 –