DATE:  September 4, 2007       
CONTACT: Dr. Cristina Kirklighter, 361.825.2263; Dr. Veronica Guerra, 361.825.2639; or Cassandra Hinojosa, 361.825.2337

Two National Experts with Excelencia in Education to Speak on ‘Latino Students and America’s Future’ on Sept. 11

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Two national experts with Excelencia in Education who research and promote Latino/a student success will speak on “Latino Students and America’s Future” Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Both Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education, and Dr. Deborah Santiago, the organization’s vice president, have studied many successful programs for Latino students across the country and have been consultants/speakers to many Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Brown and Santiago have also served as executive director and deputy director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence under former President Clinton and continue to be heavily involved in promoting Hispanic initiatives.

“We can surely benefit from the expertise of Sarita Brown and Deborah Santiago, especially since demographers predict that by the next decade, the number of Texas Hispanics will have doubled and will wield much influence in education, the economy and the workplace,” said Dr. Veronica Guerra, director of the Title V/ TRiO program which is sponsoring the program. “We at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi want to be at the f
orefront in ensuring that the increasing Hispanic demography will be an asset to our University and to the state of Texas.”
According to Excelencia in Education, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., while Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, the group lags behind other major racial and ethnic groups in higher education attainment. Excelencia in Education accelerates higher education success for Latino students by linking research, policy and practice to serve Latino students and the institutions and programs where they participate.

The 2005 National Center for Education Statistics’ Digest of Education Statistics reported that Hispanic students represented about 11 percent of the total student enrollment in higher education (1.8 million) in 2004 and only 25 percent of college-age Latinos (18-24 year-olds) were enrolled in college. That’s compared to about 42 percent of whites, 32 percent of blacks, and about 60 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Brown began her career at the University of Texas at Austin where she created a national model promoting minority success in graduate education. She was also the founding president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute and a senior fellow at the Pew Hispanic Center. She is an advisor to the National Association for Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

Dr. Santiago has extensive experience in education and policy research. During her tenure at the U.S. Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education, she conducted research and analysis on educational issues related to the condition of Latinos in education, institutional trends in student access and completion, programmatic support services, accountability, programs that effectively serve Latino youth, Hispanic Serving Institutions and the development of institutions serving low-income and underrepresented students