Dale Erquiaga

The 2016 Latino Education Conference took place on December 7 in our nation’s capital.  LATINO Magazine’s seventh annual event brought together several hundred Latino opinion makers, influencers, and community leaders at the Capital Hilton a few blocks from the White House.

Participants also included executives from companies such as ExxonMobil, GM, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, and Microsoft. Students participated from High Point High School in Prince George’s County, MD, as well as others affiliated with the Communities in Schools program. One common thread running through the panels and  roundtable discussions throughout the day was the need for outreach to encourage Latinos to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Many more companies are talking the talk,” said LATINO Publisher Alfredo Estrada as he opened the conference. “But sometimes they’re only talking to themselves, so the message has not gotten through to the Latino community. The purpose of our NUESTRO FUTURO initiative is to spread the word about STEM through Latino media.”

In the morning, students heard from Whitley Poyser, Integration Lead of Global Research & Development for Lockheed Martin, within the corporation’s Chief Technology Office. In this role, she’s responsible for operational management and coordination within the Global Research & Development organizations.

The need for STEM education and outreach was a central theme in the panels. The first was entitled “Partnerships in STEM” and included Richard Lopez, GM; Celia Nogales, AT&T; and Javier Vazquez, Microsoft.

Following the panel, participants heard from an outstanding leader, Lawrence Romo, Director of the Selective Service System. Romo delivered to students the message that young men must register with the Selective Service System upon their 18th birthday.  The second panel was “Careers for Latinas” and was moderated by Dalia Almanza Smith, LATINO. Panelists included Vanessa Garcia, NBCUniversal Telemundo; Anais Carmona, T-Mobile; and Elia Quintana, HACR.

Lunch was served in the historic Congressional Ballroom, and featured several guest speakers including Tony Tijerino, president of the Hispanic Heritage Foundaion, and Milton Chaves on behalf of luncheon sponsor ExxonMobil.

The keynote was delivered by Dale Erquiaga, the new president and CEO of Communities in Schools. A former state superintendant of public education in Nevada, Erquiaga noted that he is the grandson of Spanish-speaking immigrants and described the challenges faced by English Language Learners (ELLs).

It was an exciting end to NUESTRO FUTURO, our seventh annual Latino Education Conference. Many thanks to our partners at ExxonMobil, GM, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, Microsoft, Herbalife, Selective Service System, Coast Guard, National Grid, Cigna, T-Mobile, and UCDavis, for their support, and to all who attended, especially teachers and students. ¡Gracias!



Panel Two  Careers for Latinas

(l-r) Elia Quintana, Vanessa Garcia and Anais Carmona

 Whitley Poyser, Lockheed Martin