An LNESC Quarterly Publication providing new and exciting information about LNESC programs and services.
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The LatinEd Connection

Summer 2021 Edition

Dear students, families, and friends,
Summer is here! As the nation is slipping back into a familiar pattern of normalcy, there are plenty of reminders of the health crisis we have all endured together. As restrictions are being lifted or eased, and businesses are beginning to increase customer capacity, be sure that the transition to post-pandemic living is to your comfort level and suits your own standards for health and safety.

In this issue of The LatinEd Connection, you will see that there are plenty of virtual programs that remain and will continue into the fall semester. LNESC team members are implementing summer activities, mostly virtually, as we consider how best to serve our communities during these transitions. Nationally, LNESC offers virtual education and leadership workshops through our Caminos initiative, with the next event focusing on a panel discussion for how to prepare for your first year of college, aimed at incoming freshmen (details below).

This fall, we will once again host the Washington Youth Leadership Seminar in a virtual setting for high school juniors and seniors. As one of LNESC’s more popular programs, we are excited to introduce these students to the area of policy-making, as they identify leadership characteristics within themselves to engage their communities. Through our programs, LNESC has encouraged and uplifted many young leaders over the years. In our “Rising Stars” segment, there are powerful examples of how education and opportunity allow for these young superstars to impact their communities and continue to push themselves to excel in their pursuits.

Have a great summer!

Warm Regards,
LNESC National Office

Que Pasa: Updates and Happenings at LNESC

Virtual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar

The Washington Youth Leadership Seminar offers a truly unique opportunity for students to voice their opinions directly to national leaders and policymakers. It challenges participating youth to focus on their own leadership development and encourages participants to apply these lessons back in their communities. Participants are recommended by LNESC Centers and LULAC Councils to serve as representatives of their home states. During the event, students work with LNESC staff and leaders from across the country to develop a platform of initiatives, which are of particular interest to youth. After meeting with key policymakers in the field and discussing with representatives, participants collaborate on a position piece, which is then shared with their congressional representatives. In past years, students have focused on issues that include the environment, education, immigration, healthcare reform and the economy.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the LNESC National Office will host its annual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar virtually on September 23 - 25, 2021. Student applications will be available here by early August.

Macy’s Emergency Scholarship Fund

The Macy’s Emergency Scholarship Fund is a joint partnership between LNESC & Macy’s to provide financial resources to full-time undergraduate or graduate students in Puerto Rico facing economic hardship and immediate monetary need that, if not met, could result in an inability to complete classes or a degree program. Students who are interested in applying should visit the Macy’s Emergency Scholarship page on the LNESC website for more details.

For additional non-LNESC scholarship resources, click here.

Caminos to College and Careers:
Educational and Leadership Virtual Workshop Series

LNESC is now offering is now offering a series of educational and leadership workshops to prepare students for higher education opportunities to provide pathways to careers. These workshops will include participation by career professionals and experienced presenters in relevant topics for student growth.

College Campus Culture: Navigating Campus Resources

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 ---- 4 pm PST/ 5 pm MST/ 6 pm CST/ 7 pm EST

Participants will be entered into a raffle for Walmart gift cards in the amounts of $500, $250, $100, and $50. Must attend the full session to qualify.

Topics may include:

  • Living on Campus vs Off-Campus: Pitfalls and advantages of living on/off campus
  • Student Resources: On-campus resources that students should know
  • Student Life: Social and academic groups
  • Budgeting: Managing finances on your own
  • Substance Abuse: Responsible health and safety standards
  • Culture Shock & Racial Experiences: How to examine issues of race and ethnicity

To register, please click here.


Connecting Community to Education: LNESC in the Field

LNESC Houston

Despite the year-long struggle of attempting to learn and socialize in a completely virtual setting this past school year, a particularly perseverant group of students from Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, in Houston, Texas have chosen to spend six weeks of their summer with LNESC Houston’s virtual Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Program. To this end, LNESC Houston staff and interns have been busy at work facing the Herculean task of managing a program with the lofty goal of being both engaging and enriching to participating students. This is only the second summer that this program has been conducted virtually, and the first with which the team had time to prepare for the virtual setting. Students who are a part of UBMS this summer cycle will participate in the following four courses Monday through Thursday: Introduction to College English, Spanish Language and Culture, Topics in STEM, and a recent addition, College 101. On Friday, students are led on virtual field trips with the explicit objectives of team-building and learning through inquiry-based activities by interns and outside organizations.

The first two of these courses are taught by educators in the traditional sense, but in the other two courses, Topics in STEM and College 101, LNESC Houston has leaned on its talented team of young interns to lead the way. For the first three weeks of the program, college STEM majors Eulises Beltran (Sam Houston State University) and Andy Garcia (Columbia University) have taken students through an assortment of hands-on activities and lectures that span across the sciences. Under their guidance, students have learned about topics as diverse as epidemiology and biomaterial science, while also having the opportunity to cultivate bacteria found around their home and build a solar-powered robot.

The last three weeks of instruction will be led by Ms. Ivett Lemus, a mathematics instructor at Raul Yzaguirre. The final class of the day is College 101, a college-prep course led by Jered Nations (Texas Women’s University) and Valerie Lara (University of Houston), both of whom graduated just last year as long-time students who have been a part of LNESC Houston’s UBMS program. In this segment of their day, students have been able to learn about the college application process through games, and are in the process of drafting initial versions of a college essay for the Apply Texas prompts. With these drafts in hand, students are led through Zoom Breakout Room sessions where they can expect peer-reviewed feedback on their writing; the foundations of applying to college are laid by none other than students who just completed this process in their own journey! We are very proud to have them as part of the LNESC Houston team.

LNESC San Antonio

San Antonio has kicked off their summer program where they offer classes with college style teaching and learning methods. This includes employability skills, college workshops, as well as the traditional core subjects like math, English and science, as they prepare younger students for their upcoming school year in the fall. The program will span a total of six weeks, with the last being a virtual mission assigned to students as they travel the world online, since these special circumstances have once again make it unable to travel and visit sites in person as we have accustomed to before.

Alongside, LNESC San Antonio has had the special opportunity of providing Apple iPads to their students. The purpose was to facilitate all virtual communication with them and provide students the opportunity to learn how to use such a valuable tool in their education, and prepare them for college use. The LNESC San Antonio staff hopes to see the growth of their program with many new members from the underclassmen grade levels and the return to the usual schedule in the fall with more trips around the city of San Antonio.


The COVID pandemic continues to present many challenges to our educational community and all aspects of our lives; however, it also continues to inspire new possibilities and to present new opportunities for our students to continue exploring and expanding their learning methodologies to pursue their educational goals.

From the onset of spring 2020, Miami LNESC integrated “virtual instructional learning” and provided contactless services and resources, which continued and transitioned into the summer months. Upward Bound program participants participated in a completely virtual-visual six-week summer academic/enrichment component. The students attended all classes online, participated in virtual college campus visits, enjoyed cultural explorative/visual activities”, and received daily meals, delivered right to their doorsteps. Students quickly learned to integrate technology into daily learning and developed essential skills to adapt and strengthen their learning potential

For the duration of the 2020-2021 academic school year, students continued to enhance their learning experiences by participating in afterschool daily virtual tutoring, attending Saturday virtual SAT/ACT test prep and joining monthly zoom-visual educational workshops that provided information & resources on financial literacy, careers, & college readiness. Students and families also engaged in virtual meetings/orientations, to continue benefitting from program services while prioritizing health mandates.

For summer 2021, Miami LNESC will once again implement a virtual/contactless instructional summer program and will continue to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our students. The COVID pandemic has taught us a very valuable lesson - creativity, perseverance, optimism, patience, adaptability and good will are all within each one of us. LNESC Miami staff will continue to assist students and families to promote higher education.

Lideres in Action: Rising Stars of LNESC

In this edition of the LatinEd Connection, we would like to celebrate and congratulate our graduating seniors’ class of 2021! Below, three students from New Mexico, Colorado, and California have shared with us their amazing achievements and how LNESC has been a part of their journey throughout their education.

Albuquerque, NM
Alyssa Daniel-Peterson is attending New Mexico Tech in the fall as a Daniel’s Fund Scholar with a plan to major in Electrical Engineering and Physics. She currently works as an intern at Sandia National Labs working with EM Image Analysis and at Eden Laboratories testing the biodegradability of different sample products sent in by companies. Alyssa is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed.

“I became inspired to pursue STEM my junior year of high school, that year I took a Robotics course which is where I had grown my passion for engineering .The experiences and knowledge I was gaining from the course really opened my eyes to my potential in the STEM field. I had always had an interest in STEM but I was afraid I wasn't smart enough, or talented enough for such an intense career path. But I took a chance on myself and it was one of the best things I ever did for my future. But as a female from a low-income community pursuing study related to engineering and robotics, I am well aware of the adversity and disparity my demographic often encounters.”

"In most engineering classes I took in high school it was difficult to find someone who relates to me and the personal struggles that I have faced. I was really discouraged in the beginning; I didn't have the same resources nor the familial expertise as many of my peers from more affluent backgrounds. I felt that I had a chance to be equal to my other peers because of the mentorship and guidance I was given through Upward Bound. In the beginning of the school year, I felt embarrassed of who I was and that I was not going to be able to make it in the fields of study that most interested and inspired me. Instead, I began to feel that I was unique to the field and it is important for me to represent my community in situations like this, because of LNESC. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made through my high school career. I am a recipient of the Gold Scholarship valued at $20,000 at NMT and is a Daniels Fund Scholar which is valued at $25,000. Throughout high school I was involved in several activities such as Band, MESA, Model UN, Valley Academy, Upward Bound, and National Honors Society. Participating in several competitions, community events and leadership conventions, I won 3rd place in the 2018 State engineering competition, and I have received several leadership awards. All these accomplishments were made possible by the amazing support LNESC has given me, the people within this program encourage me to work hard and represent my community positively. But the biggest thing they taught me was to be a self-advocate and take chances on myself, because you never know what will happen. I will treasure all that my high school experiences have given me, I will use them to continue to keep inspiring young women in STEM and my community in every way I possibly can.”

Colorado Springs, CO
Brandon Pinto was a Colorado Upward Bound student from 2017 through 2021. He graduated Harrison High School and will be attending Case Western University in the fall.

“High school was not a breeze for me as I was originally expecting. I had come out of middle school as a straight A student, but quickly realized high school was not the same. I knew that asking for help would benefit me in the long run. In comes LNESC Upward Bound. Upward Bound was the group I turned to, to find the resources and assistance to succeed in high school".

"Their wide array of offerings not only helped me in school, but also outside of school. As a dual enrollment student, I found various subjects to be difficult. Gratefully, I realized I could turn to the various tutors Upward Bound offered, such as their knowledgeable math tutor. SAT preparation workshops were offered and they were very helpful. Financial literacy workshops have prepared me for various things, such as the benefits of having a good credit score and financing a college education. Over the summer, Upward Bound offers a summer enrichment program. Interesting and helpful courses, such as French and a life skills course are offered. Also, I was able to make an impact in local communities because of the volunteer opportunities that Upward Bound offers. Upward Bound has made me grow in so many ways that I am thankful for. The Upward Bound community is definitely a reason that I will pursue a higher education.”

San Diego, CA
Vivian Lopez joined the Upward Bound program her second semester of her high school freshman year. She will be attending San Diego State University in fall 2021 and will be majoring in real estate.

“Taking my first steps onto my high school campus, the instant goal was to walk off the field in white ready to continue my studies on a campus I know I will call home for the next four years. As a daughter of two immigrants, I had no taste as to what the process would be like and often questioned myself if I truly met the “standards'' of a university. Believe it or not, I had no idea as to what FAFSA was, unaware of what the term grant meant, nor had a single clue as to what a safety, reach, or match school had to do with college. It was intimidating to ask and open up to those around me in regards to college. My lack of knowledge had me fear the judgment around me. It wasn’t until I was pulled out of my Spanish class to head over the college and career source center in the office building of my school. There, sat the coordinator of Upward Bound. And that’s where my personal REAL spark of interest in college began.

"Over the years, this program has been driven to help students succeed and prepare them for what’s soon yet to be seen. From workshops, tutoring, to college tours and one-on-one assistance, not only did they personally help me out educationally, but mentally too. I believe that I wouldn’t have finished off my senior year as strong without their assistance and guidance to push me through. Over the years, I have witnessed my GPA increase and my knowledge strengthen. They’ve helped me to achieve the main goal in graduating with honors, in finding a place I can call home for the next four years, and helped me develop some unforgettable memories with those within the program I know I will continue to carry as I make an exit out of high school. I have so many reasons to give thanks to the program, to LNESC, to the tutors, and to the students. My high school experience wouldn’t have been the same without this organization I also call home.”

Oxnard, CA
Pedro Calderon is a 4-year Upward Bound student and has been awarded 21 scholarships totaling $229,670. He will be attending UCLA in the fall and planning to major in mechanical engineering.

Arleen Morales, who is the program coordinator at LNESC Oxnard shares about Pedro’s achievements and being able to see his growth within the program. She mentioned how much pressure Calderon was under, juggling sports, clubs and academics. He made time to come to tutoring and would stay after hours to finish work despite his rigorous schedule. She also shared how he grew from the shy freshman to an outspoken, confident young man.

Pedro says the scholarships are especially important to him as a student from a low-income family and he will be the first to attend college. Over the years, he worked weekends and holidays in local fields with his father, a farmworker, because he did not want to rely solely on his parents for money. "It was the only way that I could help myself and my family," Calderon said.

Pedro’s scholarships include $40,000 from the GE and Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, $30,000 from Lockheed Martin, $20,000 from Dell and Coca Cola each, and $600 from the Association of California School Administrators. Pedro is also most proud of his work with Project Islas Unidas, which he co-founded during his junior year in 2019. The group welcomes incoming students and English learners and offers them resources like tutoring.

To read more about Pedro’s story, please click here.

College Cues: Tips for Student Readiness

Whether you are a student starting their first year in college or a student returning to a university campus after a year of online learning, adjusting to face-to-face learning and campus life will be different for everyone. A core component of the successful return to in-person learning and residential experiences this fall will be your individual and collective commitment to health and safety. As you prepare for Fall 2021 here are a few tips to keep you safe and manage your feelings around this!

Put together a learning schedule
With school, work, and other responsibilities, as students you are busy. You can prepare for success this semester by planning out how your schooling will fit into your life. Now is the perfect time to ask yourself how you work best. What are your commitments? Do you work better in the morning? Are you more alert if you sit at a desk rather than on your bed? Based on your personal style, make sure to set aside time to view lectures, complete assignments, take part in class discussions, and study. Having a schedule that works for you can go a long way toward having a successful semester!

For a sample study plan schedule that actually works, click here.

You can still make friends even with social distancing
You can start making friends before you move to campus. These days there are official Facebook groups run by your university that are a great way to make friends. Once you’re actually there, check out different societies, cultural clubs, intramural sports teams to meet new people outside your classes and residence halls. Above all, remember that everyone is in the same boat. One of the biggest anxieties for students before starting university is making good friends. Don’t worry, you will find your people!

Get to know your academic adviser
This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you. They can share study resources on campus, scholarship opportunities and keep you updated on your University’s operating status based on evolving guidance from the CDC. Make sure you know who they are once you start your semester!

Parent Forum: Strategies for Student Success

College transitions aren’t easy, not for your student and not for you either. Sending your child off to college typically is a mixed blessing for parents. You spent 18 or so years of your life raising someone, teaching them good from bad, and helping them become their best selves. Seeing them leave is one of the hardest things a parent has to do. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted this milestone moment. As you prepare your child and yourself for what is coming this Fall, here are some tips to support your child and help them succeed!

Show Support
Parents are the biggest cheerleaders anyone can have in life. Knowing this, be your child’s supporter during college transitions. If you see them freaking out over a paper, or not acting normal because they are overwhelmed by classes, just approach them and talk. When an issue comes up, support your child in creating and following through on their own solutions rather than solving the problem yourself. In helping your child transition to college, you have the opportunity to teach them about resilience every time they face an obstacle.

As you settle into your new role as a College Parent, take a few minutes to read the Helping Your Child Transition to College by College Parents of America.

Be aware of what your child’s University is saying about COVID-19
Effective safety protocols that can reduce the spread of COVID-19 are all being put in place for every university campus. However, these protocols and guidelines will probably be updated as needed based on the trajectory of the pandemic and relevant new information from CDC and State restrictions. Be attentive to any significant changes communicated to your student and the University community by search on their website and identifying their COVID-19 Updates. In addition, be aware of protocols that your student must follow (such as a health pledge, vaccine requirements, and daily screenings) and what is needed as your student approaches the start of the fall semester.

Emphasize Personal Wellness
Talk to your student about taking care of their health, both physically and mentally. Encourage them to prioritize exercise and get them to do something outdoors. Promote healthy eating by sending them care packages of healthy foods that are easy for your student to prepare. You can also research your student’s university mental health services and know where they can find support on campus. Whether your student ends up heading back to campus this fall or at a later date, you’ll want to make sure they’re armed with the knowledge and resources they need to stay on top of their mental health.

For more tips and resources, visit

Support LNESC

Your contributions are what helps us continue with our educational programs and provide scholarships to outstanding Latino/a leaders. Together we can continue making an impact on the Latino/a community. Consider supporting LNESC by making a donation.


The LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit agency whose mission is to provide the highest quality educational opportunities needed for the development of life-long learners and leaders.

As LULAC's education arm, since 1973 LNESC has provided direct educational services to under-served communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, serving more than 14,000 students each year. Our educational programs break down the barriers that exist between high-need students and high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs in highly skilled fields.

Through its network of community-based education centers, LNESC provides educational counseling, scholarships, mentorship, leadership development, literacy, and technology programs.

For more information go to