The Inspira Award was created to honor Latino leaders who inspire youth in the public and private sector, and in the media. Last year’s Inspira Awardee was Actor Wilmer Valderrama. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa and Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman, Rex Tillerson were honored on Capitol Hill during the 11th Annual Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards in Washington, D.C., which also recognized more than 20 outstanding students from the region. CSI Miami Star Adam Rodriguez was honored with the Inspira Award at the 2008 National Youth Awards, held in Kansas City, MO, for serving as a role model to Latino youth in the public eye.
“The Inspira Award recognizes those who have taken a leadership role in breaking barriers and creating opportunities for Hispanic youth,” said Tijerino. “We commend Rex Tillerson for his vision in encouraging and facilitating young Latinos to focus on science, technology, math and engineering through our Youth Awards and countless other efforts including the National Math and Science Initiative. We applaud the lifetime of commitment of Rep. Hinojosa who is our champion from barrios to Capitol Hill on the issue of increasing educational opportunities for Latinos. And we thank Adam Rodriguez for being a positive role model, both on and off screen. These individuals are truly an inspiration.”
Rep. Hinojosa has played an instrumental role in helping to improve educational and workforce-improvement programs for minorities and low-income families. In addition to the many education initiatives he has supported, Rep. Hinojosa founded a year-round program called HESTEC in 2002. Held at the University of Texas-Pan American, HESTEC emphasizes the importance of science literacy for Hispanics to educators, students and parents.
Rep. Hinojosa serves as chairman of the Education Task Force for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has had tremendous success in vaulting Hispanic-Serving Institutions to a position of prominence. In 2007, Hinojosa helped pass the College Cost Reduction Act which will allow students to pursue higher educational goals by making college more affordable.
“I am extremely honored to be selected for this prestigious award,” said Rep. Hinojosa. “Education is the cornerstone of opportunity. It paves the way to improve technology, spreads new knowledge, advances innovation and ultimately shapes our future. It is vital that Hispanic-serving organizations, educational institutions and corporations help America stay competitive by advancing our educational system and capitalize upon the abundance of young and talented Hispanic minds.”
Tillerson and ExxonMobil have a long history of support for programs that improve opportunities for minorities and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These programs recognize the urgent need to encourage more Hispanic students and professionals to attain higher educational achievements and support initiatives that deliver high-quality educational programs, which prepare Hispanics for leadership in the workforce and in the classroom.
“To be recognized by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a great honor,” said Tillerson. “In today’s challenging fields such as technology and energy, our nation needs more brilliant minds than ever before, that is why we support programs like the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Youth Awards’ Engineering and Mathematics category, which emphasize the importance of role models, including those who have succeeded in the math and science fields, while celebrating the unique Latino culture that brings added strength and dimension to our nation’s workforce.”