The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) today announced the 21 winners of the 2017 SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition (STAR) awards.

The annual STAR awards recognize and honor the contributions of SHPE members and Hispanic organizations to the STEM fields. The 2017 winners were selected from over 130 nominations including professionals, corporations, and students.

This years winners are:

  • Advisor of the Year – Dr. Eliseo De Leon
  • Community Service – Samantha Dominguez, Lockheed Martin
  • Company of the Year – John Deere
  • Corporate Achievement – Francisco Romero, IBM
  • Diversity – Imelda Castro, Intel
  • Educator of the Year (Higher Education) – Dr. Jean Andino, Arizona State University
  • Government Agency of the Year – National Security Agency
  • Hispanic in Technology (Corporate) – Gary Alvarez, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Hispanic in Technology – (Government) – Daniel Perez Jr., Naval Undersea Warfare
  • Innovator – Olivia A. Graeve, University of California – San Diego
  • Jaime Oaxaca – Rosendo Cruz, Exxon Mobil
  • Junipero Serra – Maida Lopez, The Boeing Company
  • Manager of the Year – Gustavo Delcampo, United Technologies
  • Pioneer of the Year – Jesus Vargas, VSCE, Inc
  • Professional Role Model – Maira Garcia, Honeywell
  • Promising Engineer – Faraon Torres, The Boeing Company
  • SHPE Star of Today – Roberto Montanez, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • SHPE Star of Tomorrow – Maria Cecilia de Castro Breda, John Deere
  • Student Role Model (Graduate) – Johanna Heureaux-Torres, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • Student Role Model (Under Graduate) – Maria Rossana Ruiz, Prairie View A&M University
  • Young Investigator Award – Brian Mazzeo, Brigham Young University

The highest honor is the Jaime Oaxaca, recognizing the honorees outstanding contributions and accomplishments in the fields of engineering and science to the Hispanic community. Other awards honor excellence of STEM professionals, businesses, role models, pioneers and promising students.

“The 2017 STAR awards recipients are innovators, leaders, role models and achievers and we are so fortunate to have so many inspiring members a part of SHPE and the Hispanic community,” said Raquel Tamez, CEO of SHPE.

The winners will be honored and presented with awards at the SHPE National Conference held in Kansas City, MO on November 1-5, 2017.


About SHPE –
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is comprised of a national network of more than 300 chapters. SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, and resources including hosting the largest annual Hispanic STEM conference in the nation.  For more information, visit

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

Education News

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit


About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at


UCLA Faculty Who Were First in Their Families to Go to College Help Others Like Them Overcome Fear, Self-Doubt

UCLA Student and Grad

Gerardo Ramirez remembers his first day of college as one filled with conflicting emotions. He was eager and excited to be starting his freshman year at California State University, Northridge, but at the same time, he was apprehensive and anxious, and feeling a lot of pressure.

“The entire week before, I had nightmares that I couldn’t find any of my classrooms,” recalls Ramirez, who was not only navigating the physical campus but also entering the strange, new world of higher education as the first in his family to go to high school and college.

“I felt worried that I wouldn’t be able to do something as basic as find a class,” he says, “and that uncertainty in my abilities was a common concern for me throughout my undergrad years.”

Ramirez is now an assistant professor in UCLA’s Department of Psychology and one of approximately 100 UCLA faculty members, all former first-generation college students, who are participating in a new effort to offer support and encouragement to prospective and current first-generation UCLA students. More than 30 percent of UCLA undergraduates fall into that category.

Helping first-generation students feel connected

The UCLA First Generation Faculty Campaign is part of a broader effort to raise the visibility of first-generation faculty members across the University of California. At UCLA, the campaign is operating in collaboration with the First to Go program, which focuses on the retention and success of UCLA students.

“This campaign is intended to demystify the faculty rank for students and lets them know that behind the podium are many people whose roots are very similar to their own, and that a similar prestigious end is possible for them in whatever career path they are pursuing,” says Patricia Turner, senior dean of the UCLA College who was a first-generation college student who grew up in Sag Harbor, New York, where her mother cleaned houses and her father ran a farm in nearby Bridgehampton.

Originally from Virginia, neither of her parents completed high school.

First-generation students commonly face unique challenges when coming to college, says Turner, including pressure to improve their family’s economic situation, a narrow understanding of academic and professional opportunities, and lack of mentors.

Turner, who attended State University of New York, Oneonta, and UC Berkeley, says that highly competitive schools like UCLA can be especially intimidating for first-gen students who sometimes believe that professors at UCLA, one of the world’s leading universities, couldn’t possibly relate to them on a personal level.

“Academic success is linked to students believing that they belong to the institution,” says Turner, noting that more than 90 percent of first-generation students at UCLA graduate. “Students need to feel connected, and the response we have received to this program reinforces my belief that our faculty members are deeply committed to the undergraduate experience at UCLA.”

It’s especially important for first-generation students to complete their studies and inspire other prospective first-generation students because of what a college degree can mean economically to their future, their families, communities and society. According to a study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce published in 2014, those who have bachelor’s degrees earn on average $1 million more than high school graduates over the course of a lifetime. In addition, Ph.D. holders earn $1 million more than bachelor’s degree holders.

Inspiring others to succeed

Being in college won Ramirez respect among his siblings and other family members, many of whom looked to him as an example of what is possible with hard work and dedication to academics. He also was able to offer them one-on-one counseling — something many lower-income high school students often don’t receive — and guide them on college admission requirements and financial aid and application deadlines, among other details.

As a college student, Ramirez avoided mentioning his first-generation status, but as a UCLA professor, he proudly shares his personal story with his students at the beginning of each quarter.

It’s this kind of support and perspective that inspired fourth-year cognitive science major and first-generation college student Denise Peralta to apply for graduate school after she completes her bachelor’s degree in June. “He (Ramirez) was the only professor to encourage me to go straight into a Ph.D. program. I wasn’t confident that I was ready, but, after hearing his story, I understood why he was pushing me, and I thought I could do it.”

Ramirez also opened her eyes to the importance of being involved in undergraduate research and helped her explore opportunities both at UCLA and other institutions. Peralta currently works in Ramirez’s research lab and hopes to one day teach math at a middle school similar to the one she attended in East Los Angeles. Her career aspirations are driven by a desire to foster a love of math and learning, and to serve as a positive role model.

“I want my students to see someone who looks like them, who came from the same neighborhood or one like theirs — and show them that success and a bright future are within their reach,” Peralta says. “I want them to say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ And first-gen college students also need this kind of encouragement. This campaign gives us that.”

Advice from those who walked a similar path

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Paul Kroskrity became a first-generation college student after growing up in Long Island, New York, and later in Connecticut. He joined UCLA’s Department of Anthropology as a professor 40 years ago and served as chair of the American Indian Studies Program for 26 years. He believes that UCLA and the UC campuses in general are the perfect place for these efforts to flourish.

“The reason why this [First to Go] program is so good is that we have a really high quality institution, but we also admit students that are more diverse than those at the average university,” says Kroskrity, adding that UC campuses are an engine for social mobility. At other universities, he says, it’s not unusual for students who are the third or fourth generation in their families to attend college.

Kroskrity, who graduated from Columbia University and Indiana University, encourages first-generation students to get engaged, stay involved and not allow themselves to be constrained by self-imposed barriers or self-doubt.

“If you start limiting yourself by your own sense of what you are not capable of, or what you don’t know about, or how awkward you feel because it’s something new, you just don’t get the full experience,” says Kroskrity, whose mother didn’t complete high school and whose father was limited in his career because he lacked a college education.

“Take academic risks, talk to people that you might not have considered speaking to before, including your professors,” the UCLA anthropologist advises. “Reach out to people and get the full value of this experience. UCLA exists for them. You are not going to get these four years back, so use them in the best ways possible.”





Which MBA Program is Right for You? You can get your MBA your way.


Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full-time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three-to-four month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Enrollment is often tied to a new or anticipated promotion, and most students are company-sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum

Virtual/Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which type of program is best for you?
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals.

Goals and Program Elements

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?


  • Can you handle going to school full time and working part time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

 Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?


  • Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?
  • Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?
  • How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?
  • Will your current employer support you in a full- or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: FORTÉ Foundation

6 College Scholarships Latinos Should Apply to Right Now


Between 1993 and 2014, the enrollment of Latinos in college rose substantially. In 1993, only 22 percent of Latinos aged 18 to 24 attended either a two- or four-year college, according to Pew. By 2014, with about 2.3 million Latino students, the number jumped to 35 percent. And while enrollment for Latinos continues to grow, the cost of higher education can still prevent some from attending college – or it may push others into taking on onerous loans.

Though the spring semester has just begun, it’s never too early to start thinking about summer and fall. That’s why we put together a list of scholarships meant to provide some relief for Latino students. Jot down these deadlines on your calendar.

1. Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship Application

Deadline: January 26, 2018

The Anhelo Project is for undocumented students in Illinois. “Our goal is to support undocumented students, many of whom despite growing up in the United States and earning a high school diploma, continuously face challenging roadblocks when pursuing a post-secondary education. One major obstacle being financial need due to ineligibility to apply for federal and state financial aid.”

Learn more and apply here.

2. AMS Minority Scholarships

Deadline: February 1, 2018

The AMS Minority Scholarship awards students who “have been traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, especially Hispanic, Native American, and Black/African American students.” The two-year scholarship provides students with $3,000 for their freshmen year and $3,000 for their sophomore year.

Learn more and apply here.

3. National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Deadline: February 15

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) will offer five different scholarships in 2018 ranging between $1,500 and $5,000. “NAHJ scholarship opportunities are open to college-bound high school seniors, college undergraduates, and graduate students pursuing careers in English or Spanish-language print, broadcast, digital, or photojournalism. ”

Learn more and apply here.

Continue onto Remezcla to read more about these scholarships

This Scientist Made a Major Discovery By ‘Playing’ With Bugs

Stephen Baca

By Catalina Gonella

While hiking the hills of Kenya and coming across “amazing spiders” and other creatures, Stephen Baca rediscovered his childhood love for bugs. Sitting around a campfire later one night, he decided to concentrate his studies on just that.

Baca would go on to pursue entomology, the branch of zoology that is concerned with insects, and then earn a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. It was a choice well made, because in the past few years, the 31-year-old has become a world authority on the evolutionary history of a family of burrowing water beetles known as Noteridae. While conducting his research, he also has helped to clear a path for underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields.

“When I was younger, I didn’t realize you could do this for a living,” Baca told NBC Latino.


Turning an obsession with crawling things into a career

As a kid growing up a part of a proud Hispanic-American family in New Mexico, Baca had always been interested in anything that crawled. He would even host lizard catching competitions with his cousins as a kid. “I suppose I was always the one who wanted to learn more about them,” Baca recalled.

When he was in middle school, one of his teachers happened to be an entomologist who would bring his bug collections to class. Fascinated, Baca began collecting insects himself.

“In middle school, I was this weird guy. I like to think endearingly weird guy, but I don’t know for sure,” Baca said, laughing. “I used to carry around a jar and forceps in my backpack, in case I saw anything cool.”

High school, on the other hand, was boring for Baca, and he eventually lost track of his passion for insects.

When he got to college, he decided to major in business, figuring he would set himself up for a “decent career.” He ended up leaving school after only one year.

“I just didn’t have the patience for school at all,” he said.

After that year, Baca worked several jobs, from delivering pizza to waiting tables and bartending. After spending a summer working on a ranch in Montana, he decided he would go back to school. This time, he stuck with it.

Baca started out at a local community college and eventually transferred to the University of New Mexico where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology.

It was around this time that he traveled to Kenya and experienced his career-altering epiphany. The things that crawled, such as the marching army ants, were what excited him. “I was just like, man this stuff is amazing, I used to love this as a kid!”

When he got back, he connected with a professor who allowed him to volunteer at his lab conducting research on aquatic beetles. After six months, Baca visited Peru to conduct fieldwork, and that’s when he got hooked. “It kind of snowballed from there,” he said.

Now, Baca is living out his childhood dream. Having earned his Nicaragua_w_caimanmaster’s in entomology, he is now working toward his doctorate in the same field at the University of Kansas. Or as he puts it, “getting to play with bugs all the time.”

Overturning a water beetle world

Recently, Baca was the lead author of a study that delineated the evolutionary history of Noteridae. His work was published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Working with co-authors Emmanuel Toussaint and Andrew Short of University of Kansas and Kelly Miller of University of New Mexico, Baca was able to determine the relationships of 53 species of Noteridae. His study completely overhauled the classification within the family of aquatic beetles.

“It’s important to note that papers like this, that especially when they result in large changes in the classification, have a lot of downstream impact,” Floyd Shockley, an entomologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told NBC Latino. “Especially on the large community of amateur collectors that just enjoy collecting beetles,” he said. The impact on museums, and other places that house insect collections will also be major, according to Shockley.

While conducting the study, Baca and his team discovered faults in a computational method for partitioning genetic data—the “k-means” method. The researchers sent their results to the developer of the computational method, who decided the model should be discontinued.

The method was just gaining traction, but the discovery by Baca will prevent other biologists from getting inaccurate results by using it. “The developer had already realized there were issues with it,” Baca said. “We were kind of the last nail in the coffin.”

Passing on the STEM “bug”

Baca is also passionate about the work he does as the president of University of Kansas’ chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

He became involved in the group back when he was an undergraduate at University of New Mexico through one of the school’s biology professors, Maggie Werner-Washburne. When Baca asked her for a recommendation letter to help him get into grad school and the National Science Foundation, “she agreed, but only on the condition that I go to a SACNAS meeting.”

Though he didn’t really know what SACNAS was at the time, he agreed to attend. “I loved it because the whole time, they were just kind of talking about the things that I felt were sort of lacking in my life before,” Baca said.

In high school, no one had asked him what he liked or was interested in. “I didn’t know that I could make a career out of this stuff,” said Baca. “And that’s kind of the fun thing about sitting here now, is that I had no idea this was ever possible.”

“And that’s kind of one the reasons that I like to get into some of these outreach groups,” Baca explained.

He was nominated to become the president of University of Kansas chapter shortly after deciding with a group of students that he should lead because he was the oldest of the group. “We’ve been pretty ambitious about it,” said Baca. They just celebrated their one-year anniversary and recently became recognized as an official chapter. Baca’s goal is to continue to do more outreach work, to undergraduates and especially to high school students.

“One of the things I’ve learned more than anything in doing this,” said Baca, “is that putting yourself in a position where you can talk to people or sharing your story and giving them a little bit of advice, letting them know that there are resources out there for them, and people advocating for them, is where the most profound effect comes from.”

Sources: NBC News, NBC Latino. View original article at:

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s great idea for teaching civics to English-language learners


The U.S. has an estimated 4.6 million English Language Learning (ELL) students, of which 3.4 million are Spanish speaking. According to iCivics, an education non-profit, students tend to struggle more with social studies and civics because the academic language used is difficult, and teachers have limited training and resources to help them.

Enter Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

The nation’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice, who sits on iCivics’ board, envisioned making a game available in Spanish that teaches U.S. civics in a more approachable and engaging way.

The result is ¿Tengo Algún Derecho?, a Spanish-language translation of “Do I Have a Right?”, which was first released in 2011. The game teaches the fundamentals of American civics and how U.S. democracy works by familiarizing students with American civil liberties. It challenges players to run their own law firms that take pro-bono cases in which clients’ constitutional rights maybe have been violated.

“Do I have a Right?” was first released in 2011. Since then, the game, which is free of charge, has been played nearly 9 million times.

“Supporting students is a cause very near to my heart,” said Justice Sotomayor. “We need all young people engaged in the future of our democracy. Initiatives such as this one mark an important step towards ensuring that, no matter what language they speak, all young people have access to the knowledge and skills they need to fully participate in those important conversations.”

Studies have found a link between an American’s knowledge of U.S. civics and their participation in the voting process, regardless of party affiliation.

“Young people who recalled experiencing more high-quality civic education practices in schools were more likely to vote, to form political opinions, to know campaign issues, and to know general facts about the US political system,” said Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), about a study released in 2013. “Civics education was not related to partisanship or choice of candidate. These results should allay political concerns about civic education being taught in schools.”

Kristen Chapron, the project lead for iCivics’ new release, said that what makes their game so effective is that it’s experiential learning. Each game is about a half-hour, and students can pick what type of avatar they want to be. “Rather than sitting in a classroom and listening to someone talk, or reading a textbook, the students get to be the lawyer. You have control of the game and you remember it more,” said Chapron.

Having Justice Sotomayor working on this project, said iCivics executive director Louise Dube, has made a big difference. “I think it is her mission in life to be an inspiration to her community, and to kids in particular,” said Dube. “For someone who has come from such humble origins and has achieved so much, it is transparent to the kids and they really identify with her.”

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

A Look at Latino Student Success


More Latino students are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities than ever before. But what happens to these students after they arrive on campus? Do they leave with a degree?

Simply attending college does not provide the personal or broader social benefits that come with completing a degree – particularly a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor Degree Holders:

  • Earn, on average, nearly $25,000 more annually
  • 2x less likely to be unemployed or out of the labor force
  • Are more likely to vote and volunteer

Just 17.8 percent of young Latino adults, ages 25-34, hold a bachelor’s degree compared to 43.7 percent of young White adults. Improving college completion rates for Latino students can go a long way toward fixing this inequality.

A little over 5 in 10 (53.6 percent) Latino students who start college as first-time, full-time freshmen at four-year institutions earn bachelor’s degrees from those institutions within six years — a rate 10 percentage points below that of their White peers.

This completion gap has multiple causes and closing it will require a three-pronged strategy:

  1. Closing the completion gap at each college and university,
  2. Ensuring selective institutions – with more resources and higher graduation rates – enroll more Latino students, and
  3. Improving completion rates at the low-performing institutions where Latino students are more likely to attend.

Closing Individual Gaps

Well over 80 percent of institutions in the study had some gap, with 32 percent having a gap of 10 points or more.

Institutional leaders must be intentional about student success. And there are institutions that are leading the way in equitably graduating their students.

Take Whittier College in California. At Whittier Latino students graduate at a rate 5.5 percentage points higher than White students. What’s even more impressive is that when compared with peer institutions, Whittier’s Latino student graduation rate is 20.3 percentage points higher (

Unfortunately, there are also institutions with low and especially inequitable outcomes for Latino students. Among these is Mercy College in New York, where there is a 22.4 percentage point gap between Latino and White students.

Changing Where Latino Students Enroll

But just closing the gap at individual institutions is not enough to erase the national completion gap. To do so, more Latino students need the opportunity to attend selective institutions.

About one-quarter of all Latino freshmen enroll at the most selective institutions where most freshmen graduate, while roughly one-third enroll at more accessible institutions where few complete a degree. But one-third of their White peers enroll at the most selective institutions, and less than one-fifth enroll at the least selective.

To eradicate the completion gap, institutional leaders at selective colleges and universities need to enroll more Latino students. Latinos make up 18 percent of the US population but just 8.5 percent of students at selective institutions, the very places that have more resources to help students cross the finish line. Research shows that students who attend these colleges and universities are more likely to complete their degrees.

Increasing Graduation Rates Where Latino Students Enroll

Many will argue that differences in graduation rates are caused by differences in student preparation and other factors that are outside an institution’s control. Some of this is true, but for years, the Education Trust has shown that institutions can make a big difference.

Similar colleges serving similar students can produce vastly different outcomes, proving that what institutions do for (and with) the students they serve matters a great deal. Take, for example, these two peers: University of Texas San Antonio and California State University Fullerton. These universities have similar student bodies with similar levels of preparation, but very dissimilar outcomes for their Latino students.

Continue onto Education Trust to read the complete article.

Looking for college scholarships? Here’s some advice for Latino students.


Elisa Flores, a Latina senior at Waukegan High School in Illinois, is among the millions of high school students scavenging the internet for potential scholarships as she plans for college.

The hardest part of searching for scholarships is “not having enough help or not having the right help,” Glores told NBC News.

She also received advice from her older sister, who is already attending college.

“My sister just told me to look up anything on the internet, anything around the lines of scholarships for Hispanics, or scholarships for women or scholarships for people that play an instrument, stuff like that” the first-generation college student explained. “Specific or broad things that I do that I could potentially get a scholarship for.”

When Flores was in the second semester of her junior year, however, she joined Waukegan to College, giving her access to resources unavailable to many other students. The education program prepares students — some as early in their educational careers as fifth grade — for college by providing academic counseling, SAT practices and tutoring, and information to ease the arduous process of applying and being able to afford higher education.

“I started really late, and the people that were already in the program [Waukegan to College], they knew a little bit more about how to apply to scholarships and college in general,” Flores shared. “It was difficult for me because I never really had the help I needed until I was in this program.”

Families and students should search for these kinds of programs in their local high school or community. But it these are not available, academic counselors and scholarship database companies do have recommendations for students who do not have access to programs like these in their high schools or communities.

Gaby Castrejon, Flores’ academic counselor at Waukegan to College, advises students and families to be timely about applying to scholarships.

“I would encourage them to apply early because scholarship deadlines sometime vary,” Castrejon told NBC News. “Sometimes they close off because they have a certain limit of how many applications they can accept. So getting them done early and doing the research would be very helpful.”

Castrejon also pointed out specific websites where students can go to do their own digging.

“There are scholarship finders that usually their school can help them use,” Castrejon continued. “For example, Sallie Mae has a scholarship finder and you can plug in all of your information, like if you’re a Latino student. And it lists all of the scholarships available to you because of these qualifications that you filled out in the form.”

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides resources to families and an online application for scholarships.

Richard Sorensen is president of a Wells Fargo sponsored scholarship search database called Tuition Funding Sources. The website provides access to more than 7 million scholarships and $41 billion in awards.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Budgeting for College Students: Where to Start


College marks a significant transition period for many young adults — it’s a time of newfound freedom and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Whether your funds come from family, student loans, scholarships or your own wallet, you’ll need to budget for expenses like textbooks, housing and, yes, a social life. Knowing who’s footing the bill, what costs to expect and which ones you can live without — ideally before school starts — can reduce stress and help you form healthy financial habits for the future.

Have the money talk

Before you build a budget, go over some important details with the people — parents, guardians or a partner — who will be involved in financing your education. Discussing your situation together will ensure everyone is in the loop and understands expectations.

“One of the biggest obstacles we have [with] teaching young people financial literacy and financial skills is not making money and expenses a taboo subject,” says Catie Hogan, founder of Hogan Financial Planning LLC. “Open lines of communication are far and away the most important tool, just so everyone’s on the same page as far as what things are going to cost and how everybody can keep some money in their pocket.”

Here are some topics to start with:

  • Who is paying for college and how. Have a conversation before the start of each school year to decide if your family will pay for costs out-of-pocket or if you’ll need to get a job, rely on financial aid, use funds from a 529 plan or combine these options.
  • What expenses to expect. In addition to tuition, you’ll have to budget for other college costs, like transportation and school supplies. Make a list of likely expenses, estimate the cost and agree who pays for what. (See more on expenses below.)
  • FAFSA and taxes. Whether a parent or guardian claims you as a dependent or you file taxes on your own determines whose information is required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and who can claim tax credits and deductions. Discuss your financial status before each school year and address any changes, like a raise or job loss.
  • Credit cards and bank accounts. If you’re considering opening a credit cardaccount for the first time, are younger than 21 and don’t work full time, you’ll need a co-signer: a parent or other adult. You’ll want to talk about ground rules, like only using a credit card for emergencies and defining what constitutes an emergency. Approach new financial products with caution and be careful not to take on debt. If you plan to directly deposit funds from a job or allowance, look for a checking account that offers low (or no) fees.

Anticipate your expenses

To determine what you’ll spend each term, keep these college-related expenses on your radar:

  • Textbooks and school supplies. Course materials could eat up a large chunk of your budget. The average estimated cost of books and supplies for in-state students living on campus at public four-year institutions in 2016-2017 was $1,250, according to the College Board. Also plan for purchases like notebooks, a laptop, a printer and a backpack, and read the do’s and don’ts of back-to-school shopping for money-saving tips.
  • Room and board. When it comes to food and living arrangements, weigh your options. Compare the cost of living on campus and getting a meal plan versus renting an apartment and shopping for groceries.

Continue onto NerdWallet to read the complete article.

Advice for Prospective Latino Students

Karla Laso

By Karla Mendez

I was born in Mexico and moved to California when my parents decided they wanted to build a better life for our family. From the age of five, my new home was Fresno, California—a large city in the Central Valley where I was surrounded by a community that looked a lot like me.

I soon adjusted to American life, while maintaining my Mexican traditions through large family gatherings, tamales & pasteles, and a drive to chase the American dream. As the oldest of four children, I aspired to be a role model for my siblings and to make my parents’ sacrifices worthwhile.

I didn’t recognize that being “Latino American” could come into conflict with “traditional” American culture until college. Prior to my undergraduate experience at UC Berkeley, I was surrounded by other Latino students who aspired to change the world and even had a few teachers who were Latinas in elementary school. I didn’t recognize the deep identity challenges that Latinos growing up in other parts of America face.

Going to undergrad, I was torn between associating myself too much with Latino communities that could categorize and place me in a bucket I didn’t exactly want to be stuck in and wanting to surround myself with others that could empathize with my challenges as one of the few Latinos in my engineering and business courses.

Transitioning into my career was an elevated version of undergrad with fewer Latinos, creating more confusion about my Mexican American identity and with fewer opportunities to talk about the challenges I felt.

This inspired me to make a difference. I started driving diversity initiatives and attending national Latino conferences to find others that understood me and the struggles that I faced in the workplace. I am at HBS because it is a place that enables change, and I hope to leverage the skills I learn here to drive more opportunities for diversity in the workplace for Latinos like me.

I’d like to pass along three tips for prospective Latinos who have grown up in America. I hope that this advice helps you through your admissions process.

  1. Own your identity as a Latino

I absolutely sympathize with any Latino who treads a fine line between wanting his or her accomplishments to be 100 percent merit-based with no association as a diversity candidate versus wanting to be proud of their identity and community. At HBS, I have truly been able to recognize the importance of not leaving behind who I am, where I come from, and why that is important.

As a Latina-American in my section, I bring a rich and different perspective that I own in discussions. Bringing my experiences into the discussion has allowed different types of voices to be heard, and I hope that other Latinos bring their voices to the table.

As a prospective student, I challenge you to embrace your Latino identity and understand how that makes you unique in your workplace, how your perspective is shaped differently, and how you want to use your identity to make a difference in the world.

  1. Just apply!

I had no expectation that I would be accepted into HBS, but I took a leap of faith and just applied. Harvard is an amazing place for future Latino American leaders, but it requires more of these high potential students to apply and see themselves here. Applying is the only way to really be considered, so don’t close the door on yourself.

  1. Connect with the Latino Student Association (LASO)

Before applying to HBS, I attended the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) Conference. At ALPFA, I realized how much I had been missing by not surrounding myself with others that I could empathize with.

After being admitted to HBS, I decided to invest my time in the LASO (Latin American Student Organization) group on campus. In LASO, I have met remarkable students who are also driving diversity conversations and making changes in the workplace towards a more inclusive environment.

LASO Team Photo
LASO Team: Latino Student Association Team Photo via Karla Mendez

My involvement in LASO has helped me grow my leadership skills and embrace the importance of my heritage. Any prospective student interested in LASO should send us a note and get connected—we want to be a resource for any Latino American student that wants to help us make a difference.


This article originally appeared on MBA Voices—the Harvard Business School MBA Admissions blog. To learn more about the student experience at HBS visit