Paisley Luna: Connecting with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley
Since joining the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley team, I have not only gained an entirely new understanding of the nonprofit sector, but also a deep appreciation specifically for the work that HFSV does for the community. In my first week at HFSV, I focused on getting to know the team and familiarizing myself with all the work they do. I met with each member of the team, and each person graciously shared their story and experience with me, as well as explained their roles and responsibilities at HSFV. In these meetings, every team member offered advice, their networks, a helping hand if I ever needed it, and listened carefully to my story as well.
I have now been the Education Programs intern at HFSV for a little under two months. In this time, I have attended a variety of their workshops, supported their education programs on social media, and am currently assisting in the creation and execution of an entirely new workshop called STEM for Success. In planning our STEM for Success workshop, I have been able to meet program alumni and hear about their experiences with HFSV and the impact these programs and scholarships have had in their lives. After hearing directly from students and graduates who are impacted by the good HFSV and their program partners do, and knowing there are hundreds of other students who have similar experiences, I am amazed at how little recognition nonprofits receive for their immensely impactful work. Additionally, I have learned of the impact and importance of nonprofit networks, partners and generous sponsors that allow HFSV and other nonprofits to succeed in all they do. We are currently working with The Hispanic Foundation for Education to teach the students within their community about what a career in STEM could look like, and actually bringing in an alum of the Latinos In Tech Scholarship program to speak about her experience as a first-generation college graduate and electrical engineer.
Of course, these partnerships and relationships are made possible and maintained by the wonderful people on the team. Melissa, my manager, is so passionate about the work she does and does a wonderful job of supporting each and every student and parent involved in our workshops and programs. She has shown me the importance of empathy and consideration in the workplace. In just one short academic quarter, I have learned more from this experience than I could have ever imagined, not only about nonprofits, but also about the struggles that Latinx families and first-generation students in the Bay Area face in seeking higher education. I am extremely proud and grateful to be a part of an organization that seeks to help these marginalized communities attend college in the hopes of one day closing the gap in education, wages, and representation in fields such as STEM and beyond.