The Smithsonian Latino Center welcomed 22 graduating high school seniors from across the country to participate in its 10th annual Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) this summer. YAP is a unique leadership program that fosters the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities.
The program empowers young Latinos to become community leaders and lifelong learners. Students come to Washington for a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity at the Smithsonian, where they participate in workshops with Latino scholars and leaders, such as filmmakers, journalists, curators, artists, scientists, musicians, poets and CEOs.
After their time in Washington students completed a four-week internship at a partner cultural or science museum in one of 17 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Participating students become part of the YAP alumni network, which provides continuing professional and leadership development opportunities. By continuing to engage students, YAP helps transform teenage high school graduates into college-educated, young professionals poised for success in their early careers. The YAP alumni network boasts a 97 percent college graduation rate, and many alumni have embarked on successful careers in the arts, business, education and technology sectors, among others.
The students are selected because they demonstrate high academic achievement as well as civic responsibility and community service. They are required to work with a local library on a literacy-building project as part of their internship. Upon completion of their internships, students receive a $2,000 stipend to apply toward college and related expenses.
The California Science Center hosted an intern through the Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador Program named Hugo Santiago. Santiago, as he prefers to be called, is a resident of Bell, California. The recent scandal caused him to think about his education and focus on his purpose in life. As a result, here are his accomplishments:
*Recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship ÔÇô all of his academic endeavors are paid for - from bachelor's to doctorate degree
*Recipient of the Human Relations Scholarship from the United Negro College Fund
*Recipient of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar from Hispanic Scholarship Fund
*TELACU Scholar from TELACU College Success Program
While most college freshmen will be attending class this fall, Santiago, who has been accepted to UCLA, will defer his freshman year to participate in the Global Citizen Year. He left Los Angeles August 18 and will travel to Ecuador to work in an apprenticeship in education.
The Smithsonian Latino Center ensures that Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian and its affiliated organization across the U.S. and internationally. For information on the Young Ambassadors Program, visit www.latino.si.edu .