LATINO Magazine recently presented AHORA Student Days in San Antonio and Dallas. They were part of a series of events held nationally to expose high school students to role models from Corporate America, the Federal government, and the U.S. Armed Forces. Each AHORA Student Day consists of interactive panels in which students ask questions of the speakers and learn about career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


In San Antonio, the AHORA Student Day took place in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center during the annual conference of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). Students from the Science and Engineering Academy of John Jay HIgh School and from Lanier High School were welcomed by Manny Gonzalez, CEO of NSHMBA, who invited them to attend the conference and advised them to remain positive and optimistic about their career goals. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, President of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) introduced the keynote speaker, Yvette Donado, Senior Vice President of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ. ETS administers 50 million tests per year in 180 countries. There was also a special presentation by Matt Towson, Sr. Manager, Media Relations, Discover Financial Services, who described the company’s Pathway to Financial Success program to expand financial education programs in classrooms across the country.


Panelists included Ruby Longoria, Windows Consumer Partner & Marketing Manager at Microsoft and the Chair for the Microsoft HOLA network; Julio Rocha, founder of Rocha Financial Group in Orlando and a board member of NSHMBA; Monica Martinez, V.P., National Hispanic Business Affairs for Comerica; and Cosette Gutierrez, Community Relations, Target, who manages charitable giving in several key markets across the U.S.


In Dallas, the AHORA Student Day took place at the Latino Cultural Center (LCC). Students from Adamson, Wilmer Hutchins, and Molina High Schools were welcomed by Cynthia Gonzalez, Parent Engagement Specialist at Dallas ISD and Jessica Trevizo of the LCC.  Following keynote remarks by Lydia Gonzalez-Welch, founder of the Latino Culinary Institute, students heard from panelists Dora Ramirez, Community Development Manager for Wells Fargo; Darnell Moore, Software Architect at the Texas Instruments Systems & Solutions Research and Development Center; and Raul Villareal, Paint Area Manager of the GM Arlington Pant in Texas.


A second panel was inspired by GM’s Table of Brotherhood program to introduce Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message of Inclusion and diversity to young Latinos. It began with remarks by Debra Peek-Haynes, First Lady of the Friendship West Baptist church in Dallas, with a 14,000-member congregation. The discussion included panelists Larry Haynes, a former tax partner with Ernst &Young and a board member of the Dallas Foundation; Rebecca Aguilar, a well-known freelance journalist and member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ); and Manny Gonzalez, NSHMBA.


Many thanks to all who participated in our AHORA Students Days, including teachers and students; panelists; corporate sponsors GM, Microsoft, Comerica, ETS, Target, Wells Fargo; nonprofit partners NSHMBA , HISPA; Dallas ISD, Latino Cultural Center, Latino Culinary Institute and many others. ¡Gracias!