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July 19, 2022

Nurturing Young Kids’ Dreams with Dr. Ivonne Diaz Claisse

Nurturing Young Kids’ Dreams with Dr. Ivonne Diaz Claisse

Welcome to season three of the Dr. B Show sponsored by one 11 spa and aesthetic, Get more clicks media and transforming your way to success. Online course, powered by Borja Consulting Group. And this episode of the Dr. B show, I have the privilege of interviewing Dr. Ivonne Diaz Claisse, who is the founder of HISPA, which I am proud to be a role model.

It's an awesome episode. And I hope you love it, whether you like math or not wink, wink. So. I hope you enjoy.

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And. Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of the Dr. B show. I'm your host, Dr. B I'm here with the great Dr. Ivonne Diaz Claisse. How are you doing? Doing great. Thank you so much for having me and excited to share a little bit of my story. Yes, absolutely. Which is let's jump right into it. So tell everyone about yourself. Well, Dr. Ivonne, the last place I actually grew up in Puerto Rico and had a big dream of becoming a mathematician, and to achieve that dream, you know, I needed to have role models in my life that could validate that dream.

I had the great honor to have a professor at La Universidad de Puerto Rico, who was a mathematician. And he was from Puerto Rico. He validated my dream and I came to the United States and had an amazing journey through academia, uh, to achieve that dream, uh, and become a mathematician. That's amazing.

Amazing, amazing. So, uh, we're gonna jump around your story a little bit back and forth. So how I, you know, you're the founder of his foot, but how did that come? I'm all about somebody years ago. Oh, absolutely. So he's passed stands for Hispanics, inspiring students, performance and achievement, and truly it was through my work at, at and T I worked for at&t for 10 years doing data analytics.

And being involved with employee resource groups. And that gave me the opportunity to really do something else that wasn't looking at numbers and patterns and data. Right. I was able to plan events. I was able to have conversations about what can we do. To bring more Latino talent to the company. I was involved in professional development training for ourselves, the employees.

How could we help each other? If I was really good at some technical aspects of the company, how could I teach others in these groups about the company and so forth? And I was so involved in these groups that I became a national presence. Of the Hispanic employee resource group of AT&T. At that point, you know, as in that position, I was able to travel to BC to represent the company in different, different venues.

And there was one time, uh, where I was invited to speak and share my story at a school in Newark. And I have shared these with many people that. That day changed my life because I literally walk into another tutorial field with Latino students. And I told my story. And the next thing that happened is that the students wanted my autograph.

They were so inspired and so committed to doing things differently. Um, I had one student in particular that said because of you, I will pursue higher education. And that changed. I had right away a vision that we could mobilize train, support, recruit Latino professionals and make sure that our stories are in the classrooms to inspire the youth.

And the rest is history. We started with one role model, and now we have over 3000 individuals that are truly committed to this. That's amazing about 3000 at this point, I remember it was a few hundred and it's grown so much since then. How has your role at 18 T as an analyst kind of help you or just in general, like all your positions, uh, how has that helped you as, uh, running a business, running a nonprofit today?

Listen, when you study mathematics, I always say you can take any. Um, and I always say that you know, we, when you have an analytical mind, right, you are the problem solver. And we have to think that those are critical thinking skills. Those are the skills for the future, um, that we don't know what the jobs of the future really are.

But if we do focus on educating students and giving them the opportunity to really look at problems and look for solutions and be creative. So I feel that in my job at, at and T like from the beginning, you know, I had the opportunity to be creative. Uh, we were looking at a lot of data and back in the day, you know, we didn't have a lot of visualization tools.

And I remember just saying, oh, you know, I want to do a web, a website where people can just say, this is the data that I want to look at and graphs. And data specific to those requests will call me. It was just a database. It's something so basic looking retrospective. But back in the day, it was quite innovative and that really, um, built myself confidence in a way, you know, when you're young in your career, you are sometimes scared.

To propose, uh, ideas in your corporation and the beauty of being brave and stepping into that opportunity and embracing it is that when, when it goes well, your conference. You know you get validated and, you're ready for the next step. And it builds on that. So I always recommend, you know, like we need to be brave, take those first steps, but then after that, when those steps are taken, you're, you're building your path forward.

Um, but sometimes that first step is hard and that's why I believe so much in the business resource group because we provide networks of support for each other. We. Each one of us to succeed in the corporation. So I always recommend that, uh, as a step to start building yourself confidence in your career, and then the rest is history, right?

Because you are now able to say, oh, I see another problem. Uh, I see a problem in the corporations, but then for me, it was like, now I see a problem in society. You know, we have to make sure. Not having access to a role model is a roadblock for our youth. That should not be the case. So let's say Radica, that problem is just looking at it and then finding how do we optimize the solution for that?

We are optimizing the time of individuals that are volunteering. And we are optimizing the times of the schools and the students. So it becomes a pro. Speaking of math problems. Uh, amazing, amazing analogy. Amazing explanation. So I know you obviously have your BS in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico, a master's in engineering from Cornell, and then, of course, four years later, get your Ph.D. from Arizona state university.

Right? So why, why the love for math? Right? Everyone has a passion for every subject, but why math in your case? And that's such a great question. You know, I have been thinking a lot about that because literally. Weeks, um, from, uh, students, uh, sharing my story and I tell them that he was something that it was kind of a strength of mine.

I think that that's another lesson from my life I can share today is that when, when I went to school and middle school, high school, You know, I didn't mind doing the math homework and that was the first sign for me that there was something about math that match well with me, my strengths and my interests, but then I encounter a book, um, that was called.

And I remember looking at that book at the story of Fibonacci and if you want actually numbers. So for the audience, if you have never seen the series, please take a look and feel, it and actually live in the 11 hundreds. Uh, but he came out or discovered this pattern that describes a perfect spiral and he had no idea.

Our Milky way, you know, what's a spiral. He did, he know hurricanes had the shape of spirals, but yet he encountered a pattern. Um, and that was kind of like, wow, I want to be like Fibonacci. So I think in a way was a little bit of understanding my strengths, but also finding a little bit of a role model in a way, you know, it was a story in a book.

But that kind of made me think, wow, cool lipase like that person. Um, and then the third thing that validated that was finding a Puerto Rica mathematician at the college, which really validated to me that it was for. What an amazing, so now I know why I love mass almost. I appreciate it.

Amazing, amazing. So now I wanna just want to fast forward to today. I want to throw some stats at you and maybe just want to know your opinion on it. Um, so according to Skyhook Foundation, college stem. Uh, managers and you, and you highlighted this. All right. Um, out, earn other college grads stem market grew 45% in 20 18, 15 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations require significant mathematics or science preparation.

Right? So people in the stem fields can expect to earn 26% more than the. Person, right. That's an experienced job loss. However, only 92% of boys in 97% of girls. Uh, I guess the majority of losing interest in the stem, if not engaging by the fifth grade, according to Kenneth Western education consultant.

So just want to know your thoughts on that. Absolutely. Do you know, our students, um, listened to so many messages. And it just takes one person to say math is hard for students to be discouraged. I truly believe that we must, must work together as a community. To bring the students to the library, to bring students, to walk in the hallways of universities, to bring the students, to know about what even the par systems offer in our communities and expose them at an early age.

To discover their potential to be exposed to different things today. I mean, we have access, I think everyone to so many movies, so much information on the internet right at their fingertips is just taken one person in the community. One teacher, one friend, and one neighbor say, oh, have you heard about it.

This discovery or have you heard how the cell phone started or how things are made? I mean, I think that we are through. Uh, losing any unique opportunity. Even when we buy presents for a younger don't want, you know, today you can buy robotic kits, you can buy there's so much at our fingertips that we just need to be aware that it starts at an early age for me, like.

My understanding that I had some strengths in relation to math happened at an early age. Um, but I need support from my teachers. My teachers needed to validate that and my parents needed to agree. Let me go for a math degree. That was hard for my family because they didn't understand what are you going to do with a math degree.

And, there are so many misconceptions, right? So the important thing is that a student has a passion and interest and strengths to where a field you want that. To be nourished. It doesn't matter what it is. I mean, I always use the example of a young man. I mean, he was young, I guess when he started all of these, who he had a passion for building towers, with cards, with playing cards, I have a beautiful, there's a beautiful video about his story.

Um, and he was so passionate about that and he has built his whole career around that. He uses hundreds of thousands of cards. Make buildings beautiful, like structures just with playing cards. Um, but he went for education, to support that dream. So he has, uh, you know, like a master's degree in architectural design.

So he did the things around that. But if you think about it, if we could nourish the students, when they find something they like, we can nourish them and show them the pathways. We really will increase that pipeline that we need for the future of this country. Great, great analogy, and great, great, uh, great insight.

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Yeah, I have a six-year-old and I'm always every, every night we do math.

Right. And even if it's simple as counting apples and oranges, uh, but I, you know, I'm trying to instill that earlier on because I know the importance of that. So, so thank you for that. Really appreciate your answer. So good. Um, I just wanted to transition a little bit, um, as far as his, but why should a Hispanic professional, uh, enroll a role model, um, with his spot?

Absolutely. So you know exactly what you were saying. You know, he spot has a great focus on middle. So students six, seven, and eighth grade. And the concept here is that at this age, students, the research shows students already have some kind of aspiration at this age. Kids might not be that afraid of saying, I want to be the president of the United States, or I want to be an astronaut.

They still have those big dreams and aspirations, but by 10th grade that is gone. So why is that is because we are not showing the pathways forward. HISPA speaks about showing the pathway forward, showing that yes. Okay. You do X, Y, and C to get to a college. Then you do these things to get to a career. But we also are talking about, you know, the soft skills, the social, emotional learning skills.

We're talking about perseverance, how hard it was to face an obstacle, and how we overcame that obstacle. How many times we felt like giving up, but we did, why we did it, and how that paid off. So if you think about that, we're teaching students, things that are hard to teach are about perseverance.

Self-advocacy, we're teaching this, the students about, you know, how to set goals and, and get help from people around us to fulfill and, and, and achieve those goals. Um, so, so that's truly a critical piece for the future. We have wonderful teachers that are supporting our students and family members.

But when you think about the highly skilled careers, sometimes some of our students don't have access to those careers and sometimes our teachers don't have access to those careers. So that's what HISPA tries to do is to bring these examples into the classroom so that the students and the teachers are inspired and learn about what is possible.

Truly when I was in middle school, I had no idea, no one, no one around me knew that with a degree in mathematics, I could be helping engineers at AT&T. Right. Nobody knew that around me, yet we all know that right now. We know how important, um, you know, math is for these careers. So, so he spies all about bringing.

Those stories support the students in discovering their potential and, you know, really igniting a desire to embrace education and that they understand success will success. Will. That's a great point, right? The hispa program has, it shows the path, right. And it bridges that gap. And even me right in middle school and, you know, uh, no knock on in New York city education, but no one came in and spoke about careers.

I kind of figured it out, but not everyone figures it out. Right. But if you just make it so much easier for someone to come in from different angles, different perspectives and, and show the way. Right. So great point, great point there. Okay. Yeah. How can people get involved? There are so many ways. So of course there's what they call treasure time and talent.

Right? So time, you know, wanting to be a role model. Wanting to reflect on your story and work with us to build that presentation that you can go and give to the students. Right now, we have three ways of giving those presentations one, is the virtual life like we're doing today. Um, Also, we have only man programming now where you can record your story and we can, you know, give access to the story to many students.

And then also, obviously hopefully soon going back face to face in the class with the students then. Then talent.  In addition to sharing your story. There are so many ways you can help any nonprofit, uh, which is, you know, maybe you want to become part of their board or maybe you want to be a leader, um, mobilizing more individuals, or maybe you are really good at website development and you want to have something else to put in your resume.

Then you can say HISPA,  I would like to volunteer to support website development and. You know, we always, non-profits not only HISPA need more resources to advance their mission, uh, because the sky's the limit. When you think about the impact we already have, we have impacted over 20,000 students.

You think about how many students are, uh, out there that can be impacted. So even though we don't do a lot. We can also look at the picture of the half-empty glass on all the other students we are not impacting yet. Um, so, you know, that's why resources are so critical. Because there's so much to be done. I mean, we're trying to literally eradicate a problem in society.

And the third is a treasure, obviously making a donation. All donations are valuable to us. Um, many times your corporation matches Your donation. So you might be able to donate a hundred dollars, but now your company matches as we come 200. So, um, those are some of the ways, but also being a champion for our mission, you know, going out and telling your business resource group in your company, we want to partner with HISPA or advocating in your company for, you know, a grant. There is, um, we just had some great news today.

Um, there is an organization that they had a kind of, kind of a nomination for the nonprofit to receive a grant, and HISPA was elected. So just a simple gesture like that a long way. So yeah, stay tuned for the announcements next week, but, uh, truly a, it is, it is truly a labor of love. Do you know that um, that with yours.

Uh, your leadership. Why do you do with these, uh, podcasts with, with your interviews, with your training, with, with your voluntaryism, with HISPA, with, you know, you know, when you fully understand what this is about, you're a great example of what we can all do as individuals, um, in society. Thank you so much.

I know all that information can be found at www.hispa.org, Correct? Absolutely. Good. Good. Dr. Vaughn has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for being on my show. I really appreciate it. I'm so honored and you know, Adelante si se puede. My phrase is Soñar no pues te nada. Let's allow ourselves to dream. Dreaming costs nothing.

Right? So thank you. Take care.

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I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Dr. B show with Dr. Ivonne Diaz Claisse from his book. It was an amazing episode. I was dying to have her on my show and I'm glad to have her, that one was personal. So with that being said, I'm glad we connected. And Hey, if you haven't already checked us out, if you're struggling for leads, you're struggling to understand a process of how to, uh, how to network.

I'm here for you. I have the courses available for week and eight-week courses available at www.borjaconsultinggroup.com. Well, Dr. B out.