Elmhurst University’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grant, La Promesa Azul (the Blue Promise) is offering students two different opportunities to apply for funding for high-impact practices, which are experiential learning opportunities such as internships, research, study away, and service learning.
An email was sent to students on April 4 that provided details about the opportunities and links to the applications.
According to Karina Rivera, DHSI project director, one opportunity offers funding for any high-impact practice for the summer.
To apply, students go through the following process: they answer personal information questions, select the type of high-impact practice that best suits their goals, provide details about the high-impact practice they want to participate in, submit names for one or two references, and answer three short essay questions.
According to Rivera, the application was designed to be a smooth process for students.
“The goal of this fund is to remove barriers and access for students, so we don’t want to create a super cumbersome application so that there’s yet another barrier to completing an internship,” Rivera said.
Another opportunity offers funding for a Shedd Aquarium internship in collaboration with the Promotion of Underrepresented Minorities in Academic STEM (PUMA-STEM). According to Rivera, the opportunity is not limited to any particular program of study; any student interested in animal behavior or working with and training animals can apply.
Rivera noted that Hispanic and Latino, low-income, and first-generation students are not participating in high-impact practices as often as other students and hopes these funding opportunities can change this.
“What we hope comes out of this grant and this funding is that we can kind of close the gap a little bit so low-income, first-gen, and Hispanic students are participating in all of these really great opportunities at the same rate as their white counterparts,” Rivera explained.
Rivera believes the HSI grant can make a huge difference on campus.
“One thing about this grant is the Department of Education has a lot of different grants but this is the largest grant because it can make a really big impact on campuses,” Rivera said.
“So, three point four million dollars is a lot of money to really make some change on campus and make sure that we’re really centering our students that have been traditionally underrepresented,” She continued.
Christian Guzaro-Cruz, vice president of the Latino Student Association, thinks that La Promesa Azul will help serve the Latino community, which, according to Guzaro-Cruz, has been long underserved and underrepresented.
“With initiatives such as those offered under the Blue Promise, it helps many students to start the process of integrating into the campus community and the experiences that many do not have for various reasons,” Guzaro-Cruz said in an email to The Leader.
In addition, Guzaro-Cruz feels that the campus can continue making improvements to serve and uplift the Latino community.
“Internally, the University has initiated changes to better serve the Latin American community,” Guzaro-Cruz said.
“But I ask the administration of the institution to continue increasing the presence of Latinos/Latinas/ and Latines through our culture and history.”