Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–June 29, 2005–The national winner of the 2005 Hispanic Heritage Youth Award (HHYA) in Engineering and Mathematics was named today in Miami. ExxonMobil presented Kara Ashley Culligan, a graduating student of the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology Public Magnet School in Bergen County, N.J., with the award. ExxonMobil sponsors the Engineering and Mathematics category of the HHYA.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation launched the National Youth Awards program in 1998 to identify and prepare the next generation of Hispanic role models by providing educational support and celebrating their achievements in the classroom and community. More than 10,000 students participated in the selection process this year.
Culligan was chosen for her outstanding achievements in engineering and mathematics as well as for her academic excellence and commitment to her community. In addition to the $3,000 scholarship she received as a regional winner, she was given a $5,000 educational grant, a laptop computer, and a trip to the National Youth Award presentation in Miami. She will travel in September to the annual Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony in Washington. Culligan will use the educational grants this fall when attending Harvard University as an Engineering and Economics major.
“The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program is truly unique because it not only celebrates students for their academic achievements and future goals but also for their Hispanic heritage,” said Truman Bell, program officer for Education and Diversity, Global Community Relations, Exxon Mobil Corporation. “We are proud to enter our fifth year of sponsoring the HHYA awards and feel that through this partnership we have helped shape future Hispanic leaders. We have no doubt that Kara will become an excellent role model for the next generation of Hispanic youth.”
Inspired by her family’s struggle with respiratory disease, Culligan worked with leading allergists to find the most effective design for a new inhaler. She conducted independent research to learn about electronics, basic circuitry and speech technologies in order to develop an attachment that uses audio feedback to instruct children in taking medication. Her prototype also records commands that guide the children through the medication process. Culligan’s work earned her a Young Science Achiever’s Grant for research, second place in the North Jersey Regional Science Fair and was recognized by the New Jersey Institute of Technology for their Women in Technology award.
“I’m thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award from ExxonMobil and the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation,” said Culligan. “My family continues to be my inspiration and I attribute my determination and success to them. My Hispanic heritage has shaped my identity and provided me with an understanding and tolerance of other cultures.”
Earlier this year, the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program presented educational grants to 144 Hispanic high school seniors in 12 regions: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Northern California, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Washington. In each region, students were awarded in the following areas of accomplishment: Academic Excellence, Community Service, Engineering and Mathematics, Healthcare, Journalism and Sports. To qualify for these awards, each student demonstrated an interest in the category to which he or she applied, high academic standing and a strong commitment to serving their community. Culligan was the New York regional Gold Medallion winner in the Engineering and Mathematics category.
About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation celebrates and promotes Hispanic pride, culture and accomplishment through educational and inspirational programs. In 19 years, the Washington-based nonprofit has grown from a small photo-op at the White House commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month into a highly-respected organization with year-round programs including: the Hispanic Heritage Awards, which honors six notable Hispanic leaders during a star-studded ceremony broadcast nationally on NBC; the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, a leadership program recognizing outstanding young Hispanic role models by rewarding them with thousands of dollars in educational grants; and the new LOFT (Latinos on Fast Track) initiative which systematically provides corporate America with top Hispanic talent, using the Youth Awards as a feeder program, in an effort to bolster and diversify the workforce, with a focus on a management track. For more information please visit http://www.HispanicHeritage.org
Exxon Mobil Corporation sponsors the national and all regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards in Engineering and Mathematics. ExxonMobil supports a broad range of philanthropic activities focusing on the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations. In 2004, ExxonMobil Foundation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and its divisions and affiliates provided more than $106 million in contributions worldwide, with more than $40 million dedicated to education.
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