MOSI’s National Hispanic Scientists of the Year to Inspire Tampa Bay Youth to Achieve their Dreams

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MOSI has facilitated the mentoring of more than 21,000 students by nationally recognized scientists and engineers through the National Hispanic Scientist of the Year (NHSOY) fundraiser.

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Since 2001, MOSI has facilitated the mentoring of more than 21,000 students by nationally recognized scientists and engineers through the National Hispanic Scientist of the Year (NHSOY) fundraiser. This year’s event, Meet the Hispanic Scientists Day on Oct. 23, will allow an additional 1,500 students the opportunity to be mentored by both Dr. Modesto Alex Madique, President Emeritus of Florida International University in Miami, Florida, and Dr. Miguel Morales-Silva, computational materials physicist and recipient of the 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering. A gala honoring the two scientists will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, where they will be offered keys to the city by Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Meet the Hispanic Scientists Day gives students from predominately Hispanic and/or migrant population elementary, middle, and high schools a chance to hear motivational presentations from Drs. Madique and Morales-Silva. These students will also have the opportunity to ask the scientists questions and glean eye-opening information from them, in addition to exploring MOSI’s exhibit galleries and enjoying a film in the Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre.

“Prior to my visit, physicists have always seemed as if they may be naturally smarter than I, however this experience showed me they are just people like anyone else and I have the potential to do as well and possibly even better than they have. This experience has pushed me to pursue experimental quantum mechanics, and to receive as many doctorates as I possibly can in my lifetime,” Paul Mcfarquhar, a local high school student who participated in the 2014 Meet the Hispanic Scientists Day, said in a letter to MOSI following the event.

The MOSI NHSOY initiative represents the vision of local businesswoman Maruchi Azorin, who was greatly concerned by the statistics showing an alarmingly high dropout rate for Hispanic students back in the year 2000. At the time, the Department of Education research showed that one-third of Hispanic students dropped out of high school, a dropout rate three times higher than any other ethnic group in the U.S. While improving, these trends are persisting and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 2013 dropout rate for Hispanic students decreased to 12% compared to 7% for African Americans and 5% for Caucasians.*

Funds raised from the NHSOY gala on Oct. 24 also will fund the YES! Team (Youth Enriched by S.T.E.A.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), MOSI’s career and educational enrichment program designed to help at-risk teens develop and progress in a supportive peer-group environment. Nearly 90 percent of YES! Team students go on to post-secondary learning, and the numbers are steadily rising.

To participate in the National Hispanic Scientist of the Year gala, donate to the YES! Team or find out more about other ways to help, contact Kellen Nixon, MOSI’s Deputy Director of Development, at 813-987-6017 or Kellen.nixon(at)mosi(dot)org.

*U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Survey (CPS), October 1990 through 2013. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16

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Megan Haskins
@mositampa
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