INL News Release
April 22, 2010

Debra Kahl, 208-604-1976 (cell phone in Sun Valley)
Misty Benjamin, 208-526-5940,

Symposium promotes education, offers scholarships for Idaho's Latino teens

IDAHO FALLS — High school dropout rates higher than those of their peers. Financial pressures that often thwart dreams of a college education. Latino teens face these and many other obstacles as they try to create brighter futures for themselves and their families.

For 21 years, Idaho's Hispanic Youth Symposium has brought together Latino high school students and regional academic institutions to emphasize the importance of education. For three days — April 23-25 — some 300 Latino teens from 92 Idaho schools will gather at the annual academic retreat in Sun Valley to attend scientific and educational workshops, hear motivational speakers and vie for college scholarships.

The Hispanic Youth Symposium theme is “Sí Se Puede!” — “It Can Be Done!” The theme reinforces how crucial education is to future success. The comprehensive weekend gives teens the opportunity to participate in problem-solving workshops, examine possible career paths and compete in speech, talent, art and interactive skills competitions. The students will also interact with peers and spend time with participants who serve as role models and mentors.

Participating high schools select students to attend from those who have applied. Applicants write an essay explaining how the symposium will help them realize their goals for the future.

Since 1990, Idaho National Laboratory has hosted the Hispanic Youth Symposium as a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Energy, federal management contractors, Gem State Diversity Initiatives, state agencies, Hispanic organizations, state and private educational institutions, and private employers who help sponsor the event.

Sixteen regional colleges and universities will participate by recruiting students, sponsoring college/career booths and awarding scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Participating schools are Boise State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, The College of Idaho, College of Southern Idaho, College of Western Idaho, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Gonzaga University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, Northwest Nazarene University, The Ohio State University, Treasure Valley Community College, University of Idaho, University of Montana, Utah State University and Washington State University.

According to statistics from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Idaho State Department of Education, Latino high school teens -- both nationally and within the state -- drop out of school at rates higher than those for whites, blacks, Asians and Native Americans.

The Hispanic Youth Symposium grew out of a late 1980s brainstorming session on curbing the high dropout rate of the state’s largest minority group. Since then, more than 5,000 Idaho students have attended, and scholarships valued at over $5 million have been awarded.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

Visit the Hispanic Youth Symposium Web site.

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