Dascha Polanco Joined Forces With Hacer Scholarship To Help Latinx Students Achieve Their Higher Education Goals
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DASCHA POLANCO wearing a latina power t shirt with her arms up in a power position

By SHIRLEY GÓMEZ, Hola!

Attention, high school juniors, and seniors! An ample opportunity has arrived —literally— to the door. Once again, the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship is back to help you achieve your higher education goals.

Today, many Hispanic students have to choose between their education and supporting their families, while others are preceding their educational aspirations to avoid debt due to the high cost of schooling.

Statistics show that In the past year, the number of first-year Latinx students fell 20% in Fall 2020, and the number of Latinx undergraduates dropped 5.3% in Spring 2021 compared to the same time last year. But today, if you are a Hispanic or Latinx student, the Golden Arches, and actress and education advocate, Dascha Polanco, will turn your college dreams into reality.

“Education for me has always been important, and culturally in the Latino community, it is instilled in us from a very young age,” Polanco told HOLA! USA. “I put myself through college and still believe that education was very important, regardless of the responsibility and the obstacles that were in front of me, I had to overcome them and understand that in order to be successful, education was what I needed”

According to the actress, she accepted the partnership with McDonald‘s because she wants to use her platform to “make sure that Latino students knew that this scholarship is available to them and that college is within reach.”

The star knows that most Hispanic and Latinx parents are very traditional in careers; however, following what your heart desires should always be a priority. “As an adult, I became an actress, but as a little girl, I had dreams of being a performer,” the Dominican actress told us. “Whether going to NYU and doing films,I always knew that I wanted to perform whether is singing, dance and act, and I was always supported in my home,” she says adding that “ I was always reminded that I needed to get an education first. So I always had that in the background.”

For more than 35 years, McDonald’s USA and its Hispanic Owner/Operators have served up bright futures by providing Hispanic high school students across the country with opportunities through the HACER National Scholarship program.

The scholarship has been awarding more than $32 million in scholarships to 17,000 Hispanic students since 1985, and in 2021 you can also be part of the history. Every year the program awards a total of $500,000 to students to help them reach their full potential and secure the future they envisioned for themselves.

Click here to read the full article on Hola!.

D.C.’s struggle to hire more diverse teachers — and keep them
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diverse teachers wanted in latino schools

By Vanessa G. Sánchez, The Washington Post

Days before the coronavirus pandemic forced D.C. schools to close last year, fourth-grade teacher Isabella Sanchez sat down in front of the District’s State Board of Education to explain why teacher diversity matters. At H.D. Cooke Elementary in Northwest Washington, Sanchez told the board, she was one of only four Latino teachers serving a student body that is 52 percent Latino.

“This gap should matter to us as it matters to the students who walk into the school every single day,” she said. “I was just one of the few people who [students and parents] felt comfortable talking to, but I’m constantly wondering how many stories our Latinx students and their families would be empowered to tell if there were more Latinx teachers to tell them to.”

As school districts across the nation have become increasingly diverse, the diversity of their teachers and administrators has lagged. And while teachers in D.C. are more racially diverse than the national average, the city’s public and public charter schools have struggled to resolve a deficit of Latino teachers and male teachers of color — and to retain some educators once they’re hired.

A 2019 report from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education found that roughly 45 percent of D.C. students were males of color, compared with 16 percent of teachers. Nineteen percent of the city’s students, meanwhile, were Latino or Hispanic, compared with 7 percent of teachers. The latter gap was even wider in Wards 1 and 4, where “15 percent and 10 percent of teachers are Hispanic/Latino, respectively, but 58 percent and 40 percent of students are Hispanic/Latino,” the report said.

“What message does that send to [students]? That Latinx people don’t or can’t become teachers,” Sanchez, who has since moved to Garrison Elementary, said of those disparities in an interview. “There’s so much messaging that happens on kind of a subconscious level.”

With the pandemic affecting student learning, and with a heightened national awareness around racial justice issues, experts say recruiting and retaining teachers and principals of color is essential in making schools more equitable.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee acknowledged that the system has “work to do” in areas such as recruiting more Latino and Hispanic educators.

“Being able to talk to someone that shares your experience is incredibly meaningful and affirming, but also gives you that sense of promise that you can make it to that place in your own life,” said Scott Goldstein, founder of EmpowerEd, a teacher-led organization working to create D.C. education policies that represent diverse voices.

Research shows that teachers play an important role in shaping students’ beliefs about their academic prospects. Higher student expectations, the 2019 OSSE report found, can lead to lower likelihoods of suspension and dropout for Black and Latino students.

“We know the world that we live in. We know as teachers that there’s a sense of urgency to make sure that every kid will succeed, and you never want to see a kid fail because of your low expectations for them,” said Sanchez, a fifth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Garrison.

Aggie Payton, a special-education teacher at Whittier Elementary in Northwest D.C., saw the importance of having such supportive teachers when he endured economic hardship and homelessness as a Black teenager in Bradenton, Fla. His school mentors, he said, taught him life skills and motivated him to stay in school, apply to college and eventually become a teacher.

Payton said he now sees his life experiences as an advantage in connecting with students going through similar struggles at Whittier, a Title I school where 96 percent of students are students of color.

“I’m a Black male, and I’m not just relatable, but I also have high expectations for students,” he said. “… That drives me incessantly.”

The city has made some notable improvements in hiring. Through TeachDC, a data-driven hiring system implemented in 2009, DCPS is receiving more applications and filling most vacancies before the first day of school, a Georgetown University study published in September found.

“Our effort to retain and attract teachers are certainly research-based practices and something that we think about a lot, including compensation, leadership opportunities, collaboration,” Ferebee said.

The Georgetown report also noted that DCPS was retaining more than 90 percent of teachers who rated as effective or highly effective, which Ferebee said is “what we want.” But the city’s evaluation system, known as IMPACT, has been found to be racially biased, with White teachers on average receiving higher scores.

Although the share of Black educators in DCPS has risen over the past 10 years — to 56 percent — that figure remains 20 points lower than it was two decades ago, according to data from the OSSE and the nonprofit Albert Shanker Institute.

According to a recent district report, 25 percent of D.C. teachers on average leave each year, six percentage points above the average in other U.S. urban cities. This school year’s retention numbers, measured in October, showed a lower departure rate of 14 percent, DCPS said.

Click here to read the full article on the Washington Post.

Education leaders serving Latino students rethink college equity post-pandemic
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education institute sign at the entrance to California State University, Northridge on Jan. 23

By 

As higher education leaders mark 25 years since the creation of Hispanic-serving institutions, they’re assessing how these colleges and universities can enroll and graduate more Latino students amid the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last fall, colleges saw a 5 percent drop in Latino undergraduate enrollments. The dramatic decrease came one year after Latino college enrollment had increased by nearly 2 percent, according to Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit that analyzes how higher education institutions are enrolling, retaining and graduating Latino students.

“There was a lot of progress and accelerating enrollment. We were seeing increases in completion as well,” Santiago said during a virtual briefing on Hispanic-serving institutions held on Wednesday. “In one year, we saw a precipitous drop, scaling back some of the enrollment progress.”

While HSIs make up only about 18 percent of all colleges and universities, they enroll and graduate over 60 percent of the nation’s Latino college students. HSIs are defined as institutions where at least a quarter of the student body is Hispanic.

In the briefing, education officials and Latino members of Congress reflected on the growth of these institutions while discussing how they can step up to recent challenges.

“Equity is a big focus for us moving forward,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during the briefing. “Institutions like HSIs play a major role in that. So when we’re talking about recovery as a country, we need to acknowledge HSIs and the important work that they do to promote equity and access for all students.”

In their 25 years of existence, HSIs have grown exponentially, from about 189 colleges and universities to 539 as of last year. This is due to an increase in Latino college students who are mainly concentrated in several predominantly Hispanic areas, cities and states.

In the last 25 years, over 835 unique federal grants, totaling $1.9 billion, have provided educational opportunities for over 1.1 million Latino students enrolled in HSIs.

Santiago said while federal funding is not parallel to the growth HSIs have seen over the last decades, there’s an opportunity to assess what kinds of investments should be done to meet the growing demand and ensure successful results.

Roadblocks, then Covid

While college enrollment among Latino students has been increasing over the past decade and reached a record high in 2017, Hispanics still lag behind in college completion, according to Excelencia’s research. At least 22 percent of Latino adults have earned an associate degree or higher, compared to 39 percent of the general population. High costs, a limited knowledge of college and trying to balance work, family and academics are the most common barriers preventing Hispanic students from finishing college on time.

But the panorama gets more complicated as the Covid-19 pandemic heaps great economic stress on Latino families.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

7 Options if You Didn’t Receive Enough Financial Aid
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Complete the FAFSA form is shown on a smartphone

If you did not receive enough financial aid to cover your school expenses, you have seven ways to fill the gap.

Your school’s financial aid office is an excellent resource to help you explore these additional options, even after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

Apply for Scholarships

Scholarships are usually merit-based and do not have to be repaid. The key is being prepared, because scholarships have deadlines and may require time to write essays. So, get organized and regularly search and apply for scholarships.

Ask your school’s financial aid office or your academic advisor about school-specific or departmental (major-specific) scholarships. You should also look for local scholarships from where you live or graduated from high school. Scholarships may be offered by community, religious and fraternal organizations; and businesses in your community or those that employ your parent(s).

Look for scholarship resources that are available from your state government, or from statewide organizations with which you may have been involved. Research companies in your state that are related to your planned field of study.

National scholarships can be more competitive, but don’t let that keep you from applying. Prioritize local applications first.

Just be careful. With scholarship opportunities, it’s wise to be cautious of student aid scams. If you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of a scholarship opportunity, contact your school’s financial aid office. Prioritize local applications first and make sure you meet all deadlines.

Find Part-Time Work

Federal Work-Study can help you cover some costs throughout the semester since these funds are paid as you earn them. Remember, these funds are typically paid directly to you through a paycheck, so if you still owe an amount to your school, you would need to take those funds back to the school to pay your bill.

If you were not awarded work-study funds, most schools have other part-time, on-campus positions that can help pay for school. Working part-time on campus can be beneficial to your educational experience, as long as you can find a healthy balance between your school and work. Ask your financial aid office or career services office how to apply for on-campus position

Tuition Payment Plans

Your school’s billing office (sometimes referred to as the bursar’s office, cashier’s office or student accounts office) may have payment plans available to help you spread the remaining costs over several payments throughout a semester. The payment plan can help you budget the payments rather than paying in one lump sum, possibly helping you avoid costly late fees.

Request a Reevaluation of Your Circumstances

Sometimes a family’s finances are not accurately reflected on the FAFSA® form because of changes that have occurred, such as job loss/reduction, divorce or separation or other special circumstances. This may be a consideration now that you can file the FAFSA® form early with tax information that is two years old by the time enrollment begins.

Schools are not required to consider special circumstances, but those that do have a process, called professional judgement, by which you can petition for a reevaluation of the information on your FAFSA® form will likely require you to submit additional documentation to your school’s financial aid office. If warranted, the financial aid office can then recalculate your eligibility, possibly resulting in a change to your financial aid offer.

Request Additional Federal Student Loans

If you’ve exhausted other options and still need additional funds to help you pay for school, contact your school’s financial aid office to find out if you’re eligible for additional federal student loans. Just remember to borrow only what you need to pay your educational expenses.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans: If you are a dependent student and still need more money, your parent can apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. Most schools use the application on StudentLoans.gov, but others may have their own application. The PLUS loan application process does include a credit check. If your parent is not approved, he or she may still be able to receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser (cosigner) or documenting extenuating circumstances. If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized student loans of up to $5,000 depending upon his or her year in school.

School-Based Loans, Advances or Emergency Aid

Sometimes you may have college-related costs, such as housing costs or other living expenses, before your financial aid is disbursed. Your school may offer an option to advance your financial aid, offer a school-based loan program or have an emergency aid procedure.

Several schools now offer emergency aid opportunities if you experience unexpected expenses or challenges that are making it difficult for you to complete the semester. Ask your financial aid office if they offer these options and always make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions (such as interest rates or repayment terms) of your agreement.

Private or Alternative Loans

Some private financial institutions offer education loans that do not require the FAFSA® form. While we recommend federal aid first, we realize it does not always cover the cost, especially for more expensive schools. Private loans will almost always require a cosigner and may have higher fees or interest rates depending on your credit. Ask your financial aid office if they have a list of lenders for you to consider. If your school does not maintain such a list, you can search for lenders on your own.

Compare products before making your choice: look at interest rates, fees, repayment terms, creditworthiness requirements, satisfactory academic progress requirements, etc. Students and parents are free to choose whichever lender best fits their needs — even if it is not on a school’s preferred lender list.

Before going out on your own and making any final decisions on how to fill the gap between your aid and your expenses, we recommend that you meet with a representative in your financial aid office to determine what campus resources might be available. You might still have time to change some of your choices before the semester begins: Can you change the type of meal plan you chose? The type of housing? The number of classes in which you are enrolled? Check with campus officials to see if you still have time to select a different, more affordable option.

Source: studentaid.gov

How Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler Have Made Their Dreams Come True
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Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler

By Alvin Blanco, Genius

It’s all about talent, education, and the willingness to take risks. Music is meant to inspire, and a new wave of fresh, exciting, ridiculously talented Latino artists understands this fact.

Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler are up-and-coming singer-songwriters with the talent and desire to achieve greatness. This next class of stars succeeded by tapping into education to make their dreams come true—and they’ve inspired their fans and followers in the process.

The three artists embody the spirit of the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship, established in 1985. The goal of the scholarship is to help Latino students break barriers and make their parents and those around them proud. Over the years, McDonald’s has helped more than 17,000 Latino students—and given out more than $32 million—through the HACER program. The initiative is especially important in tough times like we’re facing now. Given the state of the world, it’s crucial for young people to keep moving forward and do more.

Isabel, Rogers, and Wheeler are certainly moving in the right direction. But they come from different places and represent the breadth of the Latino diaspora. Isabel grew up in Queens, New York, as the daughter of parents from the Dominican Republic, while Wheeler was born and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Rogers, who is half Mexican on her mother’s side, held down the West Coast, growing up in Lodi, California. They all knew early on that creating music was in their future.

Dreams of rocking stages don’t always line up with the plans of parents who want more practical, and safer, careers for their children. Isabel, who dropped her debut EP, Stuck In The Sky, in October 2020, seamlessly blends her Dominican ancestry’s bachata and merengue with R&B and hip-hop and her lush vocals. She is particularly thankful that her parents had no issue supporting her aspirations.

“My parents took four-year-old me seriously when I said I was going to become a singer,” says Isabel, who attended NYU. “They never argued with that dream or told me I had to be anything different. Obviously, I had to go to school, get good grades, and all that stuff, but it was never a matter of like, pick something. I think with any first-generation kid watching your parents make sacrifices or work extra hours or whatever it may be to make it possible for you to do what you want to do, I think that was the biggest motivating force to be successful.”

While Isabel’s parents had faith in her talents, Wheeler’s classmates in school were less kind. The reggaeton crooner has spoken candidly about the bullying he faced, but he was still able to persevere and become a certified star. By posting his music on the Internet, Wheeler jump started his career. Fans dubbed him “La Voz Favorita,” and he earned praise and hands-on guidance from reggaeton legend DJ Nelson, who executive produced his two critically acclaimed albums: 2019’s Platónico and 2020’s Platónicos.

Those school bullies couldn’t knock Wheeler off his path. “I always loved music [but] I knew that it was going to be hard,” he says. “Living for something that you love is harder. I learned English in school and watching TV and movies. I knew at some point in my life I wanted to do something in the English world because [I have] a lot of respect for American music. A lot of kids [take education] for granted—I don’t know need to learn this, I don’t need to learn that—but when you get older, you realize that all the things that they gave you, you do need to educate yourself in everything, because life puts you in a different position everyday.”

Click here to read the full article on Genius.

5 California colleges recognized for boosting Latino college completion
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Students walk back to their dorms with takeout breakfast from Gastronome at Cal State University, Fullerton, on Aug. 21, 2020, in Fullerton, Calif.Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

By Edwin Flores, NBC News

Five California four-year colleges and universities are among ten higher education institutions that have been recognized for implementing programs and strategies that are helping more Hispanic students attain college degrees.

The nonprofit group Excelencia in Education, aimed at the acceleration of Latino students in higher education, singled out the institutions through its 2021 Seal of Excelencia.

In California, the institutions are: California State University, Fresno; California State University, Fullerton; San Diego State University; University of California, Merced; and the University of California, Riverside.

Fresno State, located in the agricultural region of the San Joaquin Valley, was recognized for its paid internship program with engineering, construction management and industrial technology companies. It has resulted in substantially higher graduation rates — 72 percent compared to 48 percent of all students in the school’s College of Engineering.

Fresno State’s student body is 55 percent Latino, and 67 percent are first-generation college students.

Cal State Fullerton, the second in the state to award the most bachelor’s degrees to Latino students and the third in the country, was recognized for its Center for Scholars program, giving wraparound services to students, along with scholarship aid.

At the University of California, Riverside, Chicano/Latino graduates have tripled in numbers from 2009-10 to 2019-20, with the 6-year graduation rate at 73 percent for Latino students, compared to the national average of 54 percent. Excelencia touted its community college transfer program and a Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Latina first-generation college students draw on lessons, mentor others
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Brenda Elizondo, Daisy Gomez-Fuentes and Noemi Rodriguez are first-generation Latina college students.

By Edwin Flores, NBC News

Noemi Rodriguez, 21, aspires to make an impact in her community through her work after college. But as she maneuvers through her final year at University of California, San Diego, balancing school, work and commuting has been an ongoing challenge.

“My mom had told me from the beginning, ‘If you want to go to school, it’s going to be on your own account,'” said Rodriguez, who’s worked part time at Jamba Juice while going to school full time and taking on a second job in the summer to help pay for tuition and cover some of the family’s bills.

Latinos are more likely to be first-generation college students than any other racial or ethnic group: More than 4 in 10 (44 percent) Hispanic students are the first in their family to attend college, according to educational nonprofit organization Excelencia in Education.

Monday was the annual National First-Generation College Celebration, marking the anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which greatly expanded college opportunities through financial assistance tools such as grants and work-study programs.

While the celebration is one day, many higher education institutions carry out weeklong and even monthlong celebrations.

In California, Hispanics make up 43 percent of public college undergraduates, according to a report by The Campaign for College Opportunity. The organization, composed of a coalition of groups, aims to boost opportunities for the state’s Latinos to attend and graduate from college.

Latino college enrollment and degree obtainment are continuing to rise, and there have been encouraging trends in California, which has the country’s largest Latino population, making up almost 4 in 10 (39 percent) Californians. A little over half (51 percent) of the state’s Latinos are under 30.

The report noted that almost 9 in 10 (87 percent) of Latino 19-year-olds have a high school diploma or equivalent credential, compared to 73 percent 10 years ago. In the last five years, four-year graduation rates doubled for Hispanics enrolled as full-time, first-year students in the California State University system — from 9 percent to 18 percent for Latinos and from 15 percent to 29 percent for Latinas.

However, only 18 percent of Latino and 29 percent of Latina freshmen at the California State University system are graduating in four years.

Rodriguez is a success coach for the UCSD Student Success Coaching Program, which supports incoming and continuing first-generation students like her through mentoring, helping them balance school and work and giving them access to resources and support services. After graduation, she plans to continue mentoring students, drawing on her own experiences.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Professor’s multicultural upbringing nurtures passion for language education
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Hispanic Heritage Month: Professor’s multicultural upbringing nurtures passion for language education. Photo of rainbow colored hands reaching for the air

By Paige Fowler, Jagwire

Dr. Giada Biasetti, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of English and World Languages in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, works every day to advance the culture of Hispanic and Latino communities.

She has been with Augusta University for eight years and is the director of the Salamanca Study Abroad Program. In 2018, she won the Professor of the Year Award for the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and in 2020, she received Pamplin’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

On her family
“My parents are Italian, but I was born in Lima, Peru, so my initial contact with culture and language was Italian and Spanish at the same time,” she said. “And then eventually I was put in an American school, so I started learning English as well.”

Biasetti lived in Peru for nine years, then Caracas, Venezuela, for six years, so her formative years were spent in Latin America. She’s always had a passion for Spanish language, culture and literature, and is grateful to share that passion with American students.

“In the U.S., the Spanish language is very important; it’s growing. Spanish is the most-spoken language in the country, other than English,” she said.

“I always have to fight for people to really appreciate that, but I love to transmit that passion and try to convince some students that they should continue studying Spanish, and not just do a semester or two to get the credit.”

Biasetti is grateful that her diverse upbringing in Peru, Venezuela, Italy and the U.S. made her a cultural “hybrid,” as she calls it. “It’s made me what I am today,” she said.

She currently resides in Florida, where she’s surrounded by Hispanic and Latino culture.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m in Venezuela when I’m in Florida, especially Miami, because of the Spanish-speaking, the food and the environment,” she said.

On her students
Biasetti was named director of the Salamanca Study Abroad Program in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has yet to bring students to Spain.

The program was canceled in 2020 and 2021, but is planning to resume in late June 2022.

In addition to the study abroad program, one of Biasetti’s greatest academic interests is translation and interpretation education. In her translation courses, she regularly assigns projects that encourage students to immerse themselves in multiple languages.

“In my translation class, we recently did a translation of something that was originally written in Italian, then was translated into English, and then my students translated it into Spanish. I try to use as many languages as possible because I feel the more you’re exposed to them, and different cultures, the better,” she said.

Her translation and composition classes regularly support the Latino community in Augusta with their projects. Many publications released by Biasetti’s students are made available to the community via Augusta University’s libraries or other public libraries in Evans and Augusta. Biasetti also drops off free copies of these projects to local public schools.

Click here to read the full article on Jagwire.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Two Latinas are working together to create a pipeline of diversity in STEM
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young Hispanic woman in lab coat with technology equipment behind her

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, collectively known as STEM make up the fastest-growing and highest paid fields in the U.S. with diverse job opportunities in careers ranging from aerospace engineers, programmer to operations director, yet Latinas only account for 3% of the industry.

Unfortunately, many Latinas are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers and loose interest in these disciplines as early as middle school. This is why early intervention curriculums like the ones provided by XYLO Academy are key to increasing the representation of Latinas in the STEM workforce.

Getting to college is another challenge as underrepresented students face steep costs and challenges to higher education. According to a recent study published in the journal Education Researcher Latino college students drop out of STEM programs at higher rates (37%) that their white peers (27%).

Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. This is why IO Scholarships offers free access to scholarships and financial education so high school, undergraduate and graduate students can find life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Despite all the challenges, these two Latinas are working together to fix the leaking pipeline, providing scholarships, and creating STEM curriculums for women of color.

Gabriela Forter
Co-founder XYLO Academy

Gabriela Forter headshot

Born and raised in the California San Joaquin Valley, Gabriela’s first introduction to entrepreneurship was during a course with Professor Rostamian at UCLA in 2015. This class significantly shaped not only her academic interests but also her career path. Gabriela and Professor Rostamian have now launched XYLO Academy to scale this same impact. After spending two and a half years at Deloitte Consulting, Gabriela joined Facebook, focusing on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.  She is confident that the most meaningful changes in society will come from advancements in disruptive innovations and seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM. She is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and believes that change starts with education.

“Our goal at XYLO Academy is to educate students on disruptive innovation and inspire them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM and with our partnership with IO Scholarships we are creating a pipeline for these students to have access to the best scholarships in STEM and realize their dreams.”

María Trochimezuk
Founder IO Scholarships

María Trochimezuk headshot

Her determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.

“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”

ABOUT XYLO ACADEMY

We are a group of passionate and skilled storytellers. We believe that students everywhere should have the power and ability to access a world-class education. We believe that technology and innovation, especially disruptive innovation, provides unlimited potential for the future. XYLO Academy introduces this space to students in a bold, story-telling format breaking down any barriers that impede equal opportunity to explore, learn and thrive in the 5 disruptive innovation platforms: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Robotics, Energy Storage and Bio Tech. We have diverse experiences and backgrounds across technology, product innovations and education. We are united in our passion to provide equal access to the study of technology and innovation. Our diversity is our strength, and our mission is our singular focus. XYLO – Unlimited space for learning and opportunity.

ABOUT IO SCHOLARSHIPS

Most of the scholarships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IO Scholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.

In addition to providing scholarships, IO Scholarships website offers a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IO Scholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com or for weekly STEM scholarships email maria.fernanda@ioscholarships.com.

Genius girl, 10, has higher IQ than Einstein and Hawking – and wants to colonise Mars
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Adhara Pérez Sánchez, 10, is a child genius with an IQ of 162, surpassing Einstein and hawking

By Robin Cottle, The Daily Star

A 10-year-old genius girl has a higher IQ than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking – and she wants to colonise Mars.

Adhara Pérez Sánchez, from Mexico, scored an astonishing 162 on her IQ test, which is believed to be two points higher than Einstein and Hawking, two of the cleverest men who ever lived.

Adhara has set her sights on being an astronaut, travelling to space, and even colonising the red planet.

From the age of three she learned to read, began assembling 100-piece puzzles and studied algebra. She is already pursuing two degrees in her native Mexico, one in systems engineering and the other in industrial engineering with a focus on mathematics.

Adhara has already represented her university, giving a speech on black holes

Click here to read the full article on The Daily Star.

STEM Internship Opportunities for Diverse Students
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two Hispanic students in classroom working on laptops

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.

“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields

Facebook Software Engineer Internship

The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.

Microsoft Internship Program

For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

Minority Access Internship

The Minority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.

Google Internships

Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.

The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com.

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Lumen

Lumen

American Family

American Family Insurance

Verizon

Verizon

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022