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Back to School with Youth Awards | Aleida Olvera

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

HHF’s Youth Awards are back! Entering its 19th year, the Youth Awards honor Latino high school seniors who excel in the classroom and community and for their focus in various categories. Meet Aleida Olvera, 2015 National Youth Awards Innovation and Technology Recipient.

Aleida is a Web Developer Intern and Microsoft Student Partner at Georgetown University, where she manages and develops working solutions for the restructure of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service website. She talked to us about her introduction to HHF, tips for other students who are applying to the program and what HHF means to her! This is what Aleida said.

How did you first hear about HHF’s Youth Awards?

I am part of the National Center for Women and Information Technology and they posted about the ESA LOFT Fellowship, and I won that award! I was flown out to Washington, D.C. for that event and the Youth Awards Coordinator at the time advised that I should apply to the awards. He encouraged me to apply, and I won the National Youth Award as well. It was amazing to be connected to The Foundation before being a part of the Youth Awards program.

You attended our Youth Awards Regional and National ceremonies. How were those experiences?

I loved every second of the ceremonies because they succeeded in telling us that we really deserved this award, and that we were going to be the next role models for the youth. Leading up to the ceremony was overwhelming in a good way because of the amount of support we were receiving, along with all of the events we were taken to. At the National ceremony, we were able to pick out our awards wardrobe which was amazing, and hearing the Inspira Awardee speak at the event was beyond inspiring.

How did the Youth Awards grant help further your education, to be more specific, what did you use the grant on?

I used my grant money to help cover my tuition for my school! Without the grant, I would have had to pick up a job to help support my schooling, but this grant allowed me to take my first year easy. My original goal was to donate my grant to my high school’s Girls Who Code club I founded to ensure that it would thrive. Do not think this grant needs to be used for your schooling! You can also use it to help fund a special program that you are a part of.

When you first got that call that you won the Youth Awards grant, how did you feel? Who was the first person you told?

Franklin actually called me to tell me that I won the National award, and I immediately started crying. My mom was the first person I told because I had to break the news to her that I was going to take her to Los Angeles for the National ceremony!

Would you recommend other students to apply to this grant?

I always recommend people to apply to the Youth Awards, and I am a huge advocate for people being recognized for what they’re doing. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that their character can actually inspire others and this continues to build up the next generation of leaders. I encouraged juniors to apply to the award when I won my senior year. It is not just the award that you get, but also an entire network of people that will support you throughout your career. Also, Mr. Tijerino is the sweetest man in the world and his genuine personality, despite his title, has always resonated within me. Meeting him and staying connected to him was one of my favorite moments of this whole experience; the impact he has on our community is beyond inspiring.

What advice/tips would you give other students that are applying to this year’s Youth Awards?

If you have done something extraordinary, now is not the time to be humble! Put down everything that you have done, and be confident of your value. Your application should tell a story about yourself, and your story should be found throughout your application.

Youth Awards categories include Business and Entrepreneurship, Community Service, Education, Healthcare and Science, Media and Entertainment, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The Youth Awards is a grant that can help further your education, all while becoming a part of something bigger, the Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT) Network! If you are interested in learning more about our Youth Awards program and or have any questions on the application, contact Youth Awards Coordinators, Andres at and Brenda at 

Apply to the Youth Awards here! 

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