LASER chosen as Bright Spot
in Hispanic Education
Honor comes through the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER) has been selected as a 2015 Bright Spot in Hispanic Education. Bright Spots, part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, highlight programs, models, organizations, or initiatives that target, address, and invest in educational priorities for Hispanics and help to close the achievement gap.
The announcement was made by Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the Initiative on September 15, 2015 at the launch of Hispanic Heritage Month and in honor of the Initiative’s 25th anniversary in Washington, D.C.
“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential," said Ceja.
Frederick Aldama, LASER founder and director (kneeling) with LASER Scholars and staff.
Established in 2010 and housed in The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, LASER is the country's first hub for scholarship and mentoring that centers on Latinos and the knowledge and cultural production of the Latin/o Americas. LASER strives to make Ohio State a visible center for knowledge production in and around the study of Latino and Latin Americas and also a space for preparing, recruiting, and retaining Latino scholars from high school through graduate school.
“LASER creates pathways for talented students to achieve their goals and provides positive role models and experiences for Latino students,” said Sharon Davies, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion and director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. “We are honored that the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has recognized the accomplishments of the program.”
To expand the presence of Latinos in higher education, LASER utilizes a total system for mentoring Latinos students from high school to college and professional schools as well as those students who seek to learn more about Latino and Latin American history, culture, economics, literature, geography, and other areas.
In addition to supporting Latino students’ access and success in college, LASER also teaches parents what they can do to support their children’s college readiness, including financial planning for college expenses.
“LASER gives its Scholars essential experiences, such as our mentoring program and Bridge Builders Forum, which are crucial to their future success,” said Frederick Aldama, founder and director of LASER. “Latino youth deserve to have access to a rich and total education to realize their full potential as human beings. Today’s and tomorrow’s Latinos are the country’s future.”
Signature programs of LASER include: Latino Role Models Day, which brings in successful Latino role models from the professional world and SÕL-CON: The Brown & Black Comix Expo, an event that brings together Latino and African American comic book talent and intellectual creativity.
As a Bright Spot, LASER will be part of a national online catalog that includes over 230 programs that invest in key education priorities for Hispanics.