news releases

18 March 2024

Hispanic Access Hosts First STEM Talk for Underserved Latinos in Connecticut

Category: News Releases

On Sunday, March 17, Hispanic Access Foundation hosted the first STEM Spanish bilingual educational talk that is part of the five-year-long “Senderos a la Ciencia” (Pathway to Science) talk series and mentorship project to expose underserved Latino high school students to diverse career opportunities, provide resources, and build the next generation of Latino professionals in health and STEM in New London, Connecticut.

By 2050, Latinos are expected to represent a similar percentage as Whites of all children. The Latino population in Connecticut grew by 30% from 2010 to 2020, outpacing the national Latino growth of 23%In New London, Connecticut, 29.4% of the population is Latino (Census, 2020). Latinos are greatly underrepresented in the STEM professions. According to the Pew Research Center, Latino adults are less likely to earn degrees in STEM than other degree fields. Latino workers make up 17% of total employment across all occupations, but just 8% of all STEM workers (Fry et al., 2021)Within the medical profession, only 5.8% of active physicians identified as Latino in 2018 (AAMC, 2022).

“Senderos a la Ciencia STEM program offers an integral approach to the pursuit of health research and STEM careers,” said Amaris Alanis Ribeiro, Director of the STEM Program at Hispanic Access Foundation. “By having health and STEM role model talks they become exposed to diverse career opportunities, and by providing mentorship and resources for families, we create a holistic approach of support in their college preparation journey."

The STEM achievement gap for U.S. Latino children and their underrepresentation in STEM careers have been well documented. In a national longitudinal study, 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 the 12th grade, a substantial achievement gap persists.

The first of nine STEM talks throughout the academic year took place the evening of Sunday, March 17 at the Church of the City, in New London, and featured Milagros Elia from the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. She shared her personal and professional experience and the barriers she overcame to become an advanced practice nurse as a Latina.

“Youth tend to have role models whose race is the same as their own,” said Milagros Elia, Program Manager, Climate and Clean Energy Advocacy at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. “By offering guidance from professional role models that community members can identify with, we can help encourage youth who may be interested in STEM careers.”

The “Senderos a la Ciencia” STEM program is done in partnership with the National Institute of Health through the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). More information is available on the program webpage or by contacting Yashira Valentín Feliciano, STEM Program Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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