Our Purpose is to provide a symbolic place where aspiring Latino/a students can explore academic & career interests in STEM disciplines.
Our Mission is to increase early forethought and participation in STEM fields for Latino/a students.
Our Goal is to create visibility of Latino/a STEM role models on the world's stage to inspire Latino/a students to answer one question - what do I want to be when I grow up?
The stories we come from and the stories that we tell within our culture matter. They honor our roots and along the way shape the way we think and the way we live. Stories can invite deep thought, spark new perspectives, or even energize existing potentials that affect us at our core - sometimes forever.
The accumulation of community cultural capital – that's what we're after! A spotlight on the best and brightest role models on the global Stage can map a road for world access for the current and next generation of aspiring Latino/a academics and future professionals.
The significance of learning from others is undeniable. Even more so from relatable role models that provoke new ideas, bring to life real-world examples of success through education, and inspire actionable steps that can forever change lives.
A growth mindset comes from connecting with people, programs, and organizations to seek a competitive advantage, overcome obstacles, or to simply enjoy the ride. The key is to take ownership of tools, skills, and strategies that have been proven useful.
What we believe is possible today can guide how we define our standards, set far reaching goals, and pursue our highest aspirations. The courage to become ambitious is supported by linking current academic progression to future possibilities.
Growing up, do you remember seeing Latino/a scientists, tech developers, engineers, or mathematicians? I don't. Today, how often do we see or hear from them across mainstream media or in textbooks? A simple answer is not often enough. As a young boy I used to think that once in a great while, Latinos became doctors, top athletes, or engineers, but – once in a while. It was as if they almost didn't exist. No one ever said this to me, but their absence meant something. As a 10-year-old, it is very easy to make these simplifications based on what we see – or not see. Still, these simple ideologies can unknowingly become realities that guide what we believe in, how we think, and what we do. Learning certainly occurs from all people and in all places, but there is great value is seeing, hearing, and learning from someone that looks like us.
I grew up, struggled along the way, wondered a lot, but found my way. I became a teacher – that's what we’re supposed to become right? I started with preschoolers and worked my way to up to the university level. Throughout the years and across all education levels, I’ve come across countless young boys and girls, and also young men and women just like me. Ready, willing, and well beyond capable, but struggling to gain relatable perspectives to better understand “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, or “what can I be when I grow up?”. How many don’t find important answers to such important questions? Growing up, and even all grown up, these seemingly simple questions can be so hard to answer at the time.
The truth, I’ve come to realize, is that I was wrong. They're out there – everywhere. There are countless Latino/a scientists, tech developers, engineers, and mathematicians. And they’re making a difference, building, creating, inventing, designing, leading, and giving back across all communities. But there’s a major problem! Far too often, they are doing all of these amazing things quietly, behind the scenes where young boys and girls who wish to walk their path cannot see them. And so this project was born to find them, understand their convictions, celebrate their admirable accomplishments, and bring visibility to their contributions on the global stage, Latino Community stage, that is. The goal is to present those who wish to share their stories in all of their true complexities – doubtful, stubborn, angry, weak, confused, ignored, marginalized and enraged, but also strong, willful, resourceful, resilient, determined, and unwaveringly committed to not allow anything stand in their way as they pursued empowerment through education and meaningful careers that contribute to all American cities. In doing so, we can capture, share and preserve our cultural and intellectual wealth for the current and future generations of Latino/a aspiring students. I hope you join us.
- Dr. R. Montes
Founder & CEO
Latino Community Stage