news releases

06 February 2024

Hispanic Access Launches ‘Senderos a la Ciencia/Pathways to Science’ Hispanic Role Model and Mentoring Project

Category: News Releases

Hispanic Access Foundation is honored to partner with the National Institute of Health through the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) to launch the Senderos a la Ciencia/Pathways to Science Hispanic Role Model and Mentoring Project. Through the project, Hispanic Access will build awareness and value to Latino families about the importance of careers in health research and spark interest among youth to pursue a health research career.

“Senderos a La Ciencia is an important program because it offers a holistic approach to the pursuit of health research and STEM Careers with role models, familia, and mentorship,” said Amaris Alanis Ribeiro, Director of the STEM Program. “What makes our program unique is that we are also working with a Latino community center that the community trusts—a church. We are grateful to work with Church of the City because they serve as an asset to the community, a safe place the community goes to for not only spiritual and mental health, but also a place to turn to when a health issue arises at home, a key need since Latinos face a host of health disparities.”

Through the project we will build awareness and value among Latino parents and youth in targeted under-resourced Latino communities of careers in health research; engender an interest to pursue health research careers among youth in these same communities; and trigger pursuing a college path in health research among high school students in these same communities.

“A unique approach to the Senderos a la Ciencia project is that it will provide near-peer mentorship to youth in a pivotal and challenging time of their upbringing: high school to college transition when they’re figuring out what careers they will pursue,” said Yashira M. Valentín Feliciano, STEM Program Manager. “In addition, we will provide family members with resources so they can support their kids at home. By having role model talks in STEM and health, they become exposed to diverse career opportunities. By providing access to near-peer mentorship and resources for families, we create a holistic approach and full-circle experiences where they are supported in all spheres of their college preparation journey."

The STEM achievement gap for U.S. Latino children and their under-representation in STEM careers has been well documented. In a national longitudinal study conducted from 2010 through 2016, Mulligan et al found that Latino students enter kindergarten lagging behind all other racial or ethnic groups in their knowledge of science and mathematics and that a STEM achievement gap for Latino students continues at least as far as fifth grade (2019). By 12th grade, in fact, a substantial achievement gap persists. As a solution, the project will explore the importance of role models and peer mentoring.

This project is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) [or a NIH ICO] at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The SEPA program funds innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Informal Science Education (ISE) educational projects for pre-kindergarten to grade 12. To learn more about the SEPA Program, visit

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us