The Presidential Award represents the opportunity for HISPA to recognize the thousands of individuals—our HISPA Role Models—who have stepped into classrooms and, with their stories, inspired Latino students to discover their potential. This award means HISPA can celebrate and honor the mentors who have invited our youth to their corporations and colleges, leading lab tours and workshops that have ignited students’ desires to embrace STEM education and achieve academic and professional success.
The official biography below was current at the time of the award.
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Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) unites successful Latino role models with underserved youth in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. HISPA’s mission is to inspire Latino students to discover their potential and ignite their desire to embrace education and achieve success.
HISPA mobilizes Latino professionals to eradicate one key reason why Hispanic youth do not pursue education: a lack of role models. Unless students believe they can achieve, they are at an increased risk of dropping out—and indeed, the Hispanic dropout rate is the highest of all major racial and ethnic groups. This has huge social and economic consequences as jobs demand more education and Latinos make up more of the workforce. Research shows that early intervention is key to reducing dropout. It also shows a strong correlation between having a role model and a student’s pursuit of higher education.
HISPA unites students with successful, relatable role models during this critical period to increase students’ awareness of college and career, particularly in STEM fields in which Latinos have been historically un- or under-represented. In its 13-year history, HISPA has partnered with over 100 organizations to bring role models to over 15,000 students. Research reflects HISPA’s positive impact. After experiencing HISPA programming in 2018–19: 94% of students learned more about possible careers; 93.1% of students were inspired to do better in school; and 90% of students were inspired to set going to college as a goal.
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