IUPUI to host seminar to motivate, prepare Hispanic students for college

  • Sept. 21, 2015


INDIANAPOLIS -- Nationally known spoken-word poet, hip-hop artist and actor Michael Reyes and other Hispanic professionals from various career fields will share their success stories during an annual college preparedness program for Hispanic students. The program is designed to motivate and encourage the students to pursue a post-secondary education.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, in partnership with DePauw University, Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis Public Schools and other community partners, will welcome about 300 Hispanic students from high schools across the state to IUPUI on Monday, Sept. 28, for the annual "META: Mapping Education Towards Achievement."

META 2015 will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. The workshop includes two career path sessions during which Hispanic and bilingual professionals will share how their high school and college educations have contributed to their career success. META students will also receive information about higher education admissions, scholarships and financial aid processes, and related immigration law.

Reyes will deliver the keynote address from 12:35 to 1:15 p.m. in Room 450 of the Campus Center.

Planning for college isn't easy for any high school student, and for Hispanic students, particularly those who would be first-generation college students, the process can be even more challenging because of cultural differences and language barriers. More than 90 percent of those attending the workshop will be the first in their families to attend college.

Event organizers said Reyes' success in the arts and communication field and his Chicano/Mexican background give him a direct connection to META students as a role model and inspiration.

As a leader in progressive and radical music, Reyes combines cultural stories of resistance, raw hip-hop and inspiring poems to reach youth and elders alike, challenging the main social ills faced by communities of color.

"He is great at telling narratives that cause his audience to think critically about our perception of Latinos," said Cindy Gil, coordinator of Hispanic engagement initiatives in the Office of Community Engagement at IUPUI. "He also highlights truths about the struggles and successes faced when seeking educational achievement in the U.S.

"META students will immediately identify with someone who shares a similar identity, history and experience as them while being empowered through the arts and education."

Reyes will also teach a workshop session about poetry, creative writing and spoken word. Gil said that focusing on skills explored in that session will not only be useful for students' future arts endeavors but will also strengthen their abilities to prepare for and succeed in college, and to advocate for themselves in their high schools and communities. Reyes will also lead a workshop at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 in Campus Center Room 409.

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar, as well as representatives from the Consulate of Mexico in Indianapolis and the Office of Congressman Andre Carson, will deliver brief remarks during the workshop.

In addition to IUPUI, DePauw, Ivy Tech and IPS, META sponsors include La Plaza, Indiana Latino Institute, the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI and Butler and Marian universities.

Michael Reyes, META 2015 keynote speaker

Michael Reyes, META 2015 keynote speaker

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Diane Brown