Alexa Salas, along with Camilo Toro C'17, and Yaneli Arizmendi Nu'17 will create Lanzando Líderes (Launching Leaders), a community-based after-school program for Latino high school students in South Philadelphia. Alexa, Camilo, and Yaneli will work with Latino immigrant families and members of the community to develop an experiential, bilingual, culturally inclusive curriculum to serve as the touchstone for the program. In Philadelphia, Latino students have the lowest high school graduation rate and the highest dropout rate of all ethnic groups; Lanzando Líderes aims to bridge educational disparities and help students develop self-efficacy to reach their personal, educational, and professional goals. Alexa, Camilo, and Yaneli are being mentored by Toni Villarruel, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing.
Competitively awarded on an annual basis, the President’s Engagement Prizes empower Penn seniors to design and undertake local, national or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate.