Hispanic mother daughter program promotes higher education

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The Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program (HMDP) is an early outreach program with the goal of increasing the number of first-generation Arizona students who are qualified and prepared to enroll at Arizona State University through direct family involvement.

“It’s actually open to everyone, so we are an all inclusive program and that certainly, falls right in line with ASU’s charter right of inclusivity and defining what we as being inclusive versus exclusive,” Ruiz said.

Next year the program will be celebrating it’s 40th anniversary, Ruiz said. “This program started in 1984 at ASU for a very particular reason and it was because during that time in the early 80s as the name itself says, there just wasn’t a high number of Latino students at ASU and the university wanted to change that,” Ruiz said.

The goal was to have Hispanic mothers and daughters go through the educational journey together, Ruiz said. Students who apply and are accepted to the program start in 8th grade and continue until high school graduation. Parents and students attend monthly workshops at the university and work with mentors during the five-year program.

Stephanie Padilla is a first-generation college student who earned her bachelor’s in electrical engineering and an MBA, both from ASU. She has worked for Intel Corporation for the last 18 years and is currently the Senior Director of Xeon Services. Padilla joined the HMDP when she was in the 8th grade. Vanessa Ruiz is the Access ASU Deputy Vice President of Outreach Partnerships.

“Being part of the ASU Hispanic Mother Daughter Program I felt I was with people who could relate to myself who were going through a similar journey together and building that community together to help each other out,” Padilla said.

Padilla said she came from a large family but very few of them actually attended college. “My parents always expected me to go to college, that was not a question and I didn’t question it for myself, but what I lacked was the know how, what do I need to know to prepare for school?”

Padilla said her mother and her attended monthly session at the ASU campus. They learned about how to apply for scholarships and how to network with others.

“At the end my mom and I would always discuss hey, what did you learn in this program. It was a really good bonding moment for myself and my mom together,” Padilla said.

Ruiz said Hispanic enrollment in the early 80s was at around 4% an now in 2023 and enrollment is at 26%.

“Each HMDP has played a critical role in helping to lay the foundation of making sure that our Latino Hispanic students know that there is a place for them at ASU, that there is a community that is welcoming to them and is investing in their success and their future,” Ruiz said.

Stephanie Padilla,Hispanic Mother Daughter Program graduate; Sr. Director of Xeon Services at Intel Corporation
Vanessa Ruiz, Access ASU Deputy Vice President of Outreach Partnerships

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