Annual banquet honors Hispanic and Native American Scholars Program students

May 11, 2017

Newman University honored 29 students at a celebration banquet on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center to recognize the students from around Wichita who participated in the Hispanic Scholars Program (NHSP) and the Native American Scholars Program (NNASP).

Participating students meet once per week for 15 weeks on the Newman campus, and the programs are designed to motivate students to learn more about and consider careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Carter DeFever, a sophomore at South High School, said he appreciates the two college credits he earned during the program, and his favorite part of the program was the investigation activity with the Wichita Police Department. DeFever said, “When I was younger, I thought I’d like to do that. It was neat seeing how cool it actually is.”

Native American Scholars Program Students
Native American Scholars Program students (front row, l-r): Cherokee Aben-Bolz, Ashton Cave, Carter DeFever, JD Lewis (back row, l-r): Joseph Robertson, Lauryn Goode, Carlos Castillo. Not pictured: Jaedyn Florio.

The evening started with a welcome from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kim Long, Ph.D. During her welcome speech, Long spoke to the students and their families about science and math.

Long said, “This program is incredibly important because it gives you a sense of who scientists are, what kind of work they do. And it gives you, and everyone you interact with, the opportunity to know that scientists change the world.”

She continued with advice for the students. “If you think that STEM isn’t for you because you’re scared, or it’s hard, I’m here to tell you, don’t stop now. STEM is a path to a better future, not just because there are good jobs, but because you can really change the world. So I hope (…) that you’ve been challenged, that you’ve learned that real scientists are just people like you.”

North High School freshman Lizbeth Vazquez said the program “gives you a taste of what college will be like, and students can have an idea of what to expect.” She also appreciated the student panel in which current Newman students answered questions for the students in the program.

Vazquez said she enjoyed going through the program, saying it was a great experience overall. “It (the program) has made me realize that I want to look into business school because I really enjoy math, and want to learn more.”

As for the future, Vazquez said she plans to look into a business major at a university in Colorado where her uncle lives. She said she would tell other students, “If you have the opportunity to apply for this program, you should definitely do it. It’s a great experience.”

Hispanic Scholars Program Students
Hispanic Scholars Program students (front row, l-r): Lizbeth Vazquez, Stephanie Mendoza, Luz Diaz-Parga, Brianna Leos, (middle row, l-r) Vladimir Flores, Pili Bravo, Estrellita Quinones, Cynthia Meza-Soto, Janet Rodriguez, Nidia Lazos, Michelle Ramstack, (back row, l-r) Jaqueline Martinez-Aldape, Izzy Lira-Rodriguez, Jazciel Zapata, Octavio Nunez, Antonio Rocha. Not pictured: Alondra Lerma, Emma Hernandez, Aiza Ortiz, Kimberly Quintero, and Alanis Balza.

Associate Professor of Biology Stacy Jones, Ph.D. said the program’s goals are to strengthen the pre-college education in the math and STEM areas. “We also want to make science fun and exciting,” she said, “with some very interactive opportunities and lab demonstrations. And hopefully, after these 15 weeks, they appreciate the relevance of science and maybe even have become a little more interested in those STEM areas.”

Cherokee Aben-Bolze, a sophomore at West High School, heard about the program when Newman representatives came to her school and talked to them about how to apply.

Aben-Bolze said the program wasn’t what she thought it would be. She said, “People think of college as lectures and a lot of homework, but that’s not what it’s all about. We did a lot of activities and they were really interesting. I really liked the microbiology — I like seeing how the different cells mixed and how they were different shapes and very detailed.”

Each of the participating students received a completion certificate and small gift provided by the math and science department during the closing ceremonies.

Students who participated in the program are listed below:

Native American Scholars                    

  • Cherokee Aben-Bolze
  • Carlos Castillo
  • Ashton Cave
  • Carter DeFever
  • Jaedyn Florio
  • Lauryn Goode
  • JD Lewis
  • Joseph Robertson

Hispanic Scholars

  • Alanis Balza
  • Pili Bravo
  • Luz Diaz-Parga
  • Vladimir Flores
  • Emma Hernandez
  • Nidia Lazos
  • Brianna Leos
  • Alondra Lerma
  • Izzy Lira-Rodriguez
  • Jaqueline Martinez-Aldape
  • Stephanie Mendoza
  • Cynthia Meza-Soto
  • Octavio Nunez
  • Aiza Ortiz
  • Kimberly Quintero
  • Estrellita Quinones
  • Michelle Ramstack
  • Antonio Rocha
  • Janet Rodriguez
  • Lizbeth Vazquez
  • Jazciel Zapata