OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

White House commends OSU's educational outreach to Hispanic youth

09/15/2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The White House today recognized Oregon State University for its efforts to provide underserved Hispanic students with educational opportunities.

OSU's Fiestas, Tech Wizards, Juntos and 4-H Oregon Leadership Institute programs each received a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education award during a press conference in Washington, D.C. OSU joins more than 230 other programs that received the award.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential," Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

“It is a distinct honor to be recognized for our innovative programs reaching Hispanic audiences,” said Scott Reed, OSU's vice provost for outreach and engagement and director of the OSU Extension Service. “Each of the four projects recognized meets a specific need within a growing and important population in our state. Much additional work is needed, and we will continue to invest in the success of all of our state’s residents.”

OSU's 4-H Oregon Leadership Institute empowers Oregon high school students to pursue a post-secondary education and professional career. At workshops, they write essays and complete college applications; learn about college requirements and possible majors; discuss current events; and find out about the value of networking. They also develop leadership skills serving as camp counselors and role models for younger 4-H youth at international summer camps.

At Lincoln and Garfield elementary schools in Corvallis, OSU's Fiestas program aims to increase knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering and math for students in grades 3-5. Launched in 2011, the program is a joint project of 4-H, OSU’s College of Education and the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences program.

“The Fiestas program has been instrumental in providing a rich educational experience at two of our highest-needs schools," said Ana Lucia Fonseca, OSU's 4-H Latino outreach coordinator.

Launched in Washington County in 1998, the bilingual, afterschool Tech Wizards program teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to low-income students, particularly Latinos, in grades 9-12 who are considered at risk of dropping out of school. Students in the program learn to create websites, produce videos and podcasts, make computerized maps and build robots. They are also required to perform 30 hours of community service each year in STEM-related fields.

The program has been replicated in more than 100 counties in more than 20 states. In Oregon, about 1,000 students have participated in the program. About 95 percent have graduated from high school, and about 70 percent of those have pursued more education in science, technology, engineering or math.

Juntos, which means “together" in Spanish, is a college-readiness program for first-generation college students and their families. Originally developed by North Carolina State University, Juntos was launched in Madras in 2012 by the Jefferson County school district and OSU. The Juntos program, taught in English and Spanish, connects participants with success coaches and college-age mentors who facilitate weekly afterschool clubs and activities. Besides Madras, Juntos is also offered in Culver, Tillamook, Sisters, Warm Springs, McMinnville, The Dalles, Hood River, Mosier, Corvallis, Redmond, Hillsboro, Newport and Dayton. 

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Hispanic community. To learn more about it and to view the award recipients, visit the initiative’s website.

Extension Service

About the OSU Extension Service: Created in 1911, the Oregon State University Extension Service provides the public with easy-to-understand, research-based knowledge through workshops, hotlines, 1,200 publications, online assistance, videos, and faculty in each of Oregon's 36 counties. It adapts the research for practical, local uses by farmers, ranchers, foresters, families, gardeners, youths, seniors and coastal residents. Its programs include 4-H and Master Gardeners.