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 aims to inspire Latino students to discover their potential and ignite their desire to embrace education and achieve success. HISPA achieves this goal by mobilizing Latino professionals to serve as role models in educational programs in the communities where they live and work.  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 her guidance, HISPA has created virtual programming, recruited 3,000 volunteers, conducted more than 1,800 HISPA Role Model Program sessions and 30 Youth Conferences, reaching some 18,000 students to date.

Dr. Díaz-Claisse leads by example as an active role model herself.  She’s shared her journey story nationwide with over 10,000 students and over 70 companies, including AT&T, BMS, Comcast, Educational Testing Service, Novartis, Merck, Microsoft, UPS, Verizon, 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.

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).

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. Recognition of her leadership and devotion to supporting Latino youth has been recognized with Prospanica’s Brillante Award for Community Service Excellence (2018); Color Magazine’s All-Inclusive Awards’ Change Agent Award – Individual (2017); ); New Jersey Hispanic Leadership Association Education Award (2014); Princeton University Service Award for exemplary service and dedicated leadership (2013); Latino Institute 2013 award for supporting Latino students at all levels; NJIT Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Educator of the Year Award (2012); Verizon Hispanic Support Award (2011); and New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center Distinguished Maria De Castro Blake Outstanding Community Service Award (2010).

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 serves on the Board of Directors of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and on the Board of the National Center for Girls’ Leadership at Stuart Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, NJ.  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 this background and her professional experience, Díaz-Claisse is particularly passionate about growing the pipeline of Hispanic students going into the STEM fields.