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.

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.

The Hottest STEM Jobs of 2023
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group of diverse co-workers gathered around conference table with laptops

As 2022 comes to a close and the New Years’ resolutions start to flow, you may have “Pursue a New Career” as one of your 2023 goals.

The STEM field is growing now more than ever with jobs in every sector of science, technology, engineering, arts and design and mathematics. Here are the top jobs in the STEM field going into the new year:

Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers

Bioengineers and biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems and software. They are usually responsible for designing and operating medical equipment and devices such as artificial organs, prosthetic limbs and diagnostic technology. The bioengineering field is one of the highest “in-demand” jobs currently. They are currently estimated to grow at about 10 percent, a much higher rate than average.

  • Education: Bioengineers and biomedical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering, biomedical engineering or a related engineering field. Some positions require a graduate degree.
  • Top States of Employment: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas
  • Average Pay: $97,410 per year

Physicists

Physicists study the interactions of matter and energy. Theoretical physicists and (including astronomers) may study the nature of time or the origin of the universe. They typically work on research teams to conduct research and experiments about the natural world, but they also work to design and create lasers, telescopes and other scientific equipment that will aid them in their research. Not only are jobs in this field in high demand, growing at about 8 percent, but are one of the highest paid jobs in the STEM field today.

  • Education: Physicists and astronomers typically need a Ph.D. for jobs in research and academia. However, physicist jobs in the federal government typically require a bachelor’s degree in physics.
  • Top States of Employment: California, Colorado, Maryland, New York and Virginia
  • Average Pay: $147,450 per year

Computer and Research Information Scientists

Computer and information research scientists design innovative uses for new and existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine etc. and have a profound knowledge in programming, complex algorithms and robotics. Many of their day-to-day tasks consist of research, computer work, team collaboration and experimentation. Jobs are growing at a little over four times the normal rate compared to average, with a whopping 21 percent increase.

  • Education: Computer and information research scientists typically need a master’s or higher degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer engineering. For federal government jobs, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for certain positions.
  • Top States of Employment: California, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and Washington
  • Average Pay: $131, 490 per year

Software Developers

Software developers create the computer applications that allow users to do specific tasks and the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks. They typically work with cliental to assess the company’s current programming and computer systems and work to create systems that are more efficient and helpful to their needs. They can also be responsible for the creation, development and functionality of computer programs and systems. Software development is a rapidly growing industry with a 25 percent outlook.

  • Education: Software developers typically only need a bachelor’s degree to work in the field.
  • Top States of Employment: California, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington
  • Average Pay: $109, 020 per year

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. They are heavily involved with creating their organization’s disaster recovery plan, maintaining software, monitoring networks and fixing potential and confirmed program threats. They must also keep up to date on the latest news and developments surrounding the tech field. IT Analysts are one of the fastest growing fields in the STEM field at 35 percent.

  • Education: Information security analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in a computer science field, along with related work experience. Employers may prefer to hire analysts who have professional certification.
  • Top States of Employment: Florida, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia
  • Average Pay: $102, 600 per year

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, NBC

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.

Creating Truly Inclusive Workplaces for The LGBTQ Community
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The LGBTQ community is diverse and broad, bringing unique value to the workforce through its fabric of differentiated experiences. This often includes heightened levels of empathy and grit as well as a deeper understanding of social dynamics and cohesion building. However, Bain’s recent study found that more than 70 percent of LGBTQ employees do not feel fully included at work. This puts employers at risk of missing out on the full value of these diverse skills and perspectives.

“Many companies are awakening to the business benefits of welcoming LGBTQ employees, including an ability to attract and retain talent,” said Brenen Blair, expert associate partner in Bain & Company’s Houston office and a leader in its Organization and DEI practices. “But inclusion is about much more than ‘welcoming everyone.’ Being LGBTQ brings a distinct feeling of ‘otherness’ and comes with a life backdrop that often translates into differentiated perspectives and abilities in the workplace. Our research identified some of the most important steps employers can take to build more inclusive work environments for their LGBTQ employees and truly reap the benefits of this diversity.”

Because the category “LGBTQ” is so broad — and many organizations lack accurate data about the specific contours of their LGBTQ populations — it may seem daunting for employers to understand how to create greater inclusion for members of this group. For example, Bain’s research shows that while the top enablers for inclusion among the LGBTQ community consistently fall into areas of growth and career development — coaching, talent development programs and growth mindsets — notable differences exist between LGBTQ employees in North America and Europe as well as by gender.

LGBTQ men in North America place greater importance on the overall diversity, equity and inclusion mission and goals of an organization than LGBTQ men in Europe, who put a greater focus on open and honest communication. Bain’s research showed similar differences between LGBTQ women in North America, who place greater importance on the perceived empathy of others than women in Europe, who value growth opportunities and transparent feedback more strongly.

Leaders looking to ensure all queer talent feels included should focus on the following areas:

· Get the basics right. Create an environment where “coming out” is safe and easy. Revisit benefits packages, particularly healthcare and family leave, and ensure they meet the needs of all identities, genders, orientations and family setups. Build allyship programs that both educate and “lighten the load.”

· Embrace individuality in talent management. Examine role expectations, performance reviews and accepted language for describing success. Ask whether the organization is set up to encourage and cultivate diversity of thought in its most critical roles.

· Enable tailored career pathways. LGBTQ employees are continually coming out, and identities and passions may change significantly over the course of peoples’ careers. Inclusive organizations create clear pathways for lateral career moves that keep strong talent engaged. For example, part-time, hybrid and remote roles and sabbaticals benefit everyone, but are particularly important for creating equity for queer employees.

· Cultivate true sponsorship. Mentor programs for underrepresented groups are common, but true sponsorship opens doors, creates advocates and helps employees navigate their organization.

“To be truly inclusive, we must recognize the diversity of our people and celebrate their unique qualities,” said Andrea Arroyo, a senior manager in Bain & Company’s London office. “For example, my sponsor at work pointed out that my sensitivity — a trait I originally thought of as a flaw in the workplace — helped to make me highly attuned to both clients and teammates who were uncomfortable or even struggling. It turns out, being fully myself has helped me to be more effective in serving my clients and made me a better team member.”

Source: Bain & Company

Cover Letter 101
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A cover letter is a one-page document that supplements your resume. Though they may not be required for every job you apply to, including a short letter to accompany your resume is an excellent way to help you stand out in the application process. Your application materials should look like they belong together visually.

If you take the time to write a cover letter, be sure the style matches your resume. Remember, a generic cover letter is not worth your time. Make it personal, or don’t do it at all.

Why Should I Write a Cover Letter?

A cover letter lets you tell your employment story with some freedom to express yourself. You can explain your qualifications more fully. Clearly state why you are a good fit for the position and the company. You want to demonstrate an understanding of the specific challenges this company is facing and how you are prepared to add value. Keep this document to one page in length, max. If you can make your point in fewer words or paragraphs, do it.

The Cover Letter Structure

A cover letter, like your resume, should be developed individually for the position and company where you are applying. Remember, a great paragraph needs to have at least three complete sentences — a topic sentence and two supporting statements. The best structure for a cover letter can be described as the following:

· Heading and greeting. Include the date, your name and your contact information. Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. If you can’t find an individual’s name, use the job title of the recipient (Maintenance Supervisor, Office Manager) or perhaps “Human Resources” or “Search Committee.” Do not address your letter to a business, a department or “To Whom It May Concern.”

· Opening and introduction. Explain who you are and your reason for writing, including how you found out about the position. Use the first paragraph to express your energy, enthusiasm, skills, education and work experience that could contribute to the employer’s success.

· Body. Sell yourself. Reveal why you are a perfect and unique match for the position. Explain why you have chosen the employer. Briefly summarize your talents, experience and achievements. Give a story about a time you went above and beyond in a similar role or share a specific problem you solved in a previous job. Don’t just repeat the information found in your resume. Go one layer deeper about what makes you the best candidate.

· Assertive closing. Thank the person for taking the time to read your letter. Use an appropriate closing, such as “Sincerely.” Tell the employer how you plan to follow-up.

Types of Cover Letters

While a generic cover letter is effective much of the time, you may want to consider one of the following types of cover letters depending on the nature of your application:

· Invited cover letter. Use this format when responding to an ad or other listing. Describe how your qualifications meet the needs of the position.

· Cold-contact cover letter. Use this format to contact employers who have not advertised or published job openings. Research careers to find the requirements for the job you’re applying for matching your qualifications with that research.

· Referral cover letter. Use this format if you were referred to a job opening through networking, informational interviews or contact with employers. A referral may be to a specific job opening (advertised or unadvertised) or to an employer who may or may not be hiring now. Make sure you mention the person who referred you.

· Job match or “T” cover letter. Use this format to match the specific requirements of the job one-to-one with your qualifications, for example “You need 10 years’ experience.” and “I bring 12 years’ experience.” You can learn about the requirements from the job ad, position descriptions, phone conversations, career research and informational interviews.

Remember, cover letters, much like a resume, are supposed to be brief and informative. Use the cover letter to show off your ability, talent and capabilities, but don’t worry about including every tiny detail in your letter. Give it a try and best of luck!

Sources: Ohio Means Jobs, CareerOneStop

Sal Perez, the first Latino ‘Sesame Street’ executive producer, welcomes its new season
LinkedIn

Sal Perez got his start in “Sesame Street” as a production coordinator in 2006, while he was still a senior in college.

Sixteen years later, Perez, 38, is making history as the beloved children’s show’s first Latino executive producer, ushering in a new season — the show’s 53rd — on Thursday.

“I did film school, and I never thought that I would be doing TV that was positive for kids,” Perez, a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in California’s Bay Area, told NBC News. “It’s such a big responsibility that I sometimes try not to think about it.”

“Sesame Street” holds a special place for generations of Americans who learned numbers and letters — as well as kindness and tolerance — through a show that helped pioneer diversity and positive representations of many groups, including Latino characters.

 

Read the entire story on NBC News
Over 1,700 Celebrate Diversity in Computing at the 2022 Tapia Conference
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On September 10, 2022, CMD-IT and fiscal sponsor, ACM wrapped up the 2022 CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in Washington D.C. This was their first in-person conference since 2019 in San Diego, California.

The 2022 conference theme, “A Time to Celebrate! Resilience, Adaptability and Innovation in Computing,” was brought to life as over 1,700 students, supporters, presenters and volunteers came together at the Marriott Marquis and Washington Convention Center to participate in sessions, reconnect with others in the community and celebrate diversity in computing!

The CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference is the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing. The goal of the Tapia Conference is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities in order to:

● Celebrate the diversity that exists in computing.

● Connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities and gender to create communities that extend beyond the conference.

● Engage with computing leaders in academia and industry.

● Be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds.

The Tapia conference brings together CMD-IT’s target communities: African Americans/Blacks, Native Americans/Indigenous People, Hispanics/Latinx and People with Disabilities.

The Tapia 2022 conference offered a variety of intellectually stimulating talks from leaders in computing, along with enrichment opportunities like professional development workshops, a career fair with over 100 supporters and significant opportunities for networking. The conference concluded with its usual, fun-filled dance party.

Mark your calendars for Tapia 2023 on September 13-16 at the Gaylord Texas Resort in Dallas, Texas. Join the CMD-IT mailing list to stay connected with the Tapia Community or visit tapiaconference.org for Tapia conference updates!

National Scholarship Providers Association Introduces the NSPA Exchange During National Scholarship Month
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graduate students in caps and gowns smiling

National Scholarship Month, sponsored by the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of the vital role scholarships play in reducing student loan debt and expanding access to higher education.

To celebrate, the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) has announced the launch of the NSPA Exchangethe first and only scholarship metric database.

Thanks to a partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the NSPA Exchange was created to serve as a central access point for scholarship provider data. Currently, the database is home to metrics from over 1,300 organizations, allowing members to search details about peer providers by location, compare scholarship award amounts, eligibility criteria, program staff size, and more. All information is kept in a secure, cloud-based, centralized database maintained through a custom administration system.

“Our goal for the NSPA Exchange is to ultimately define best practices and industry standards for scholarship providers.” says Nicolette del Muro, Senior Director, Membership and Strategic Initiatives at NSPA.

“With this database, members now have the data they need to make strategic decisions. For example, of the over 15,000 scholarships in the Exchange database, the average application is open for 90 days. And 75% of these scholarships open in the months of November, December, and January. This offers applicants a relatively short window of time to apply for all scholarships. Insight like this could help a provider determine to open their application outside of the busy season or encourage them to make their scholarship criteria and requirements available online in advance of the application open date.”

“The NSPA Exchange is a great resource for IOScholarships as the information is constantly updated and enables members to review and update their own organization’s scholarship data”, said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships and Individual Affiliate Member at NSPA. “IOScholarships also uses scholarships from the Exchange in our own Scholarship Search, and we trust these scholarships are safe for students, vetted, and current offerings.

To learn more about this exciting new NSPA initiative click here –  Launching a New Member Service: The NSPA Exchange or visit www.scholarshipproviders.org. For more details on how to sponsor the NSPA Exchange, contact Nicolette del Muro Senior Director, Membership and Strategic Initiatives at ndelmuro@scholarshipproviders.org.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION (NSPA)

The mission of the National Scholarship Providers Association is to advance the collective impact of scholarship providers and the scholarships they award. Currently serving over 2,000 individuals, they are dedicated to supporting the needs of professionals administering scholarships in colleges and universities, non-profit, foundations and businesses. Membership in the NSPA provides access to networking opportunities, professional development, and scholarship program resources.

ABOUT IOSCHOLARSHIPS

By conducting a free scholarship search at IOScholarships.com, STEM minority and underrepresented students gain access to a database of thousands of STEM scholarships worth over $48 million. We then narrow this vast array of financial aid opportunities down to a manageable list of scholarships for which students actually qualify, based on the information they provide in their IOScholarships.com profile. They can then review their search results, mark their favorites, and sort their list by deadline, dollar amount and other criteria. We also offer a scholarship organizer which is completely free to use, just like our scholarship search. There are scholarships out there for diverse students in STEM. So take advantage of National Scholarship Month and search for available scholarships today!

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com

7 Options if You Didn’t Receive Enough Financial Aid
LinkedIn
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 to Navigate the Workplace as Your Authentic Self: Advice from Latina STEM Leaders
LinkedIn

Despite the fact that Hispanic/Latinx individuals make up 17% of total employment across all occupations in the U.S., they continue to be underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, comprising only 8% of all STEM workers.

Addressing the challenge of diversity and equity in STEM is crucial and will require multi-faceted efforts that amplify the voices of underrepresented employees and create workplace cultures that center inclusion. This is particularly important for STEM companies, as diverse and inclusive environments lead to better ideas, more fruitful collaboration, and more innovative approaches to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse world.

Pictured: Blanca Batlle-Aguirre (left) and Lindsey Silva (right) speak at a Genentech “Change Sequence” event.

Genentech, a South San Francisco-based biotechnology company, is working to address these challenges. Earlier this year, the company committed to doubling Hispanic/Latinx representation among their top leadership ranks by 2025, and has developed several internal initiatives to enhance cross-cultural understanding and foster belonging among all employees.

Two Latinx leaders at Genentech, Blanca Batlle-Aguirre, Senior Trainer, Ophthalmology Access & Reimbursement, and Lindsey Silva, Senior Manager, Microbiology Global QC Technology, are contributing to these efforts by driving employee resource groups aimed at giving back, building community, and advocating for Latinx people in the workplace. Throughout their careers, they have discovered the following insights on what it means to bring their full authentic selves to the workplace, and hope to encourage others in their communities to do the same.

Be Your Authentic Self and Embrace Your Roots

“We shouldn’t feel guilty about being who we are and what our cultural identity is. We need to see it more as a source of strength and a superpower. We need to change the mindset that it is unprofessional to show up as our authentic selves. The more we talk about it, and role model it, the easier it will be,” says Lindsey who grew up in a multi-generational home with her Bolivian mother, Mexican American father, and Indigenous Aymara and Spanish grandfather.

When she took on a leadership role at Genentech, one of the first things she did to get to know her new colleagues was to have breakfast, but instead of bringing coffee and donuts, she brought homemade pastelitos and salteñas. “It was a great way to build camaraderie and showcase who I am as an authentic leader,” says Lindsey.

Take Initiative and Build Community

Blanca grew up in a diverse community in the Mission District in San Francisco where she learned at an early age the importance of inclusion. She is now the lead for VIDA, a Hispanic/Latinx employee resource group at Genentech.

Blanca says “I want to change our community from the inside out to make everyone feel engaged and included. At Genentech, we are also empowered to impact our communities, even outside of the workplace. For example, in 2020 we led a voter registration campaign, and invited a health equity advocate to address questions about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.”

This year, she’s excited about the impact that VIDA will continue to have, in part by uplifting the voices of Spanish-speaking patients and advocating for more in-language services to address the healthcare access barriers faced by Latinx patients.

Trust Your Expertise and Seek Allies for Support

As an introvert, Blanca learned to trust her intuition and expertise at Genentech. She says, “Naturally I’m an introvert, and I’m grateful to those people that would pull me aside and ask me for my opinion. They would reinforce that I should speak up and share my ideas. I was able to build up my confidence through a few really strong mentors, and as a result, I’m able to speak up for myself and others as well.”

She adds, “I know there are introverts on my team, so I think about how to pull the best out of them as well. It is important to me to create that sense of inclusivity for all.”

Use Your Voice to Amplify the Conversation About Diversity

Throughout her career, Lindsey has embraced diversity and inclusion and hopes that it becomes a larger conversation in the workplace. She says, “I want diversity and inclusion to be discussed more. Science isn’t just about the technical aspect; it’s about the people as well. When I share this with colleagues, it makes them more comfortable to share their Latinidad.” She adds, “Scientific innovation comes from a diverse mindset and a culture of inclusion.”

Genentech aspires to create meaningful change and foster an environment where all employees can bring their full selves to work, like Blanca and Lindsey. Learn more about Genentech and explore career opportunities at careers.gene.com.
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Lindsey Silva, Ph.D.

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