Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, Ph.D. | President & CEO, HISPA
Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse is the founder, president, and CEO of HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement). HISPA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that inspires Latino students to discover their potential and ignite their desire to embrace education and achieve success. To achieve this goal, HISPA partners with business resources groups and professional organizations, making it easy for Latino professionals to volunteer as role models in educational programs in communities where they live and across the U.S. Founded in New Jersey in 2008, HISPA expanded its services to Texas in 2011, to New York in 2013, to Florida in 2015, and to Pennsylvania in 2019. Under Dr. Díaz-Claisse’s guidance, HISPA has recruited 3,000 volunteers, conducted more than 1,600 HISPA Role Model Program sessions and 30 Youth Conferences, and expanded to virtual programming, reaching some 17,000 students to date.
Dr. Díaz-Claisse leads by example as an active role model herself. She has shared her story nationwide with over 10,000 students and more than 70 companies, including AT&T, Bristol Myers Squibb, Comcast, Educational Testing Service, Novartis, Merck, Microsoft, UPS, Verizon, and Visa, among many others. She has spoken at numerous universities—including the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Columbia, Princeton, and Rutgers Universities—and at national conferences such as College Board’s “Préparate” and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute.
Dr. Diaz-Claisse was elected to the President’s Council of Cornell Women in 2017 and inducted into Trenton YWCA’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Under her leadership, HISPA received the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (2020) and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” (2015). Other recent recognitions of her leadership and devotion to supporting Latino youth include Prospanica’s Brillante Award for Community Service Excellence (2018) and Color Magazine’s All-Inclusive Awards’ Change Agent Award – Individual (2017).
Her professional background includes a 10-year career at AT&T as an Operations Research Analyst, supporting network capacity planning initiatives by providing expertise in data analysis, optimization, and forecasting. She holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico; a master’s in engineering in operations research from Cornell University, a master’s in mathematics from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Arizona State University. With her background and professional experience, Dr. Díaz-Claisse is particularly passionate about growing the pipeline of Hispanic students going into STEM fields.