Financial and academic barriers can make Hispanic students and their families feel like higher education is out of reach for them. Many first-generation students turn to teachers and counselors as an alternative source of assistance than their parents – or navigate the entire process by themselves. Sometimes, all they need is a role model to remind them that si se puede and that college is within reach.
The HACER® campaign for 2022-2023 drummed up news and excitement with community hero Katya Echazarreta, a former McDonald’s crew member who went on to become the first Mexican-born woman to go to space. As an electrical engineer, science communicator, and citizen astronaut, Katya and her story provided a source of inspiration to help motivate students to go further in their education.
As part of the partnership, Katya spoke to more than 3,000 local high school students across high schools in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and El Paso serving a large number of Hispanic student populations; she sought to inspire them to pursue their higher education dreams. She also gave a series of 1:1 mentorship sessions with select students, during which they discussed the HACER® National Scholarship and the path towards higher education. To reach even more students nationwide, Katya hosted a virtual mentorship session ahead of the scholarship application deadline.