From February 21-22, 2018, over 250 students gathered at Arizona State University West Campus for an engaging and unique event hosted by the U.S. Army and Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). The event was part of HHF’s Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT) program, which provides workforce development training and programs to more than 100,000 students and young professionals.

During the two-day event, students received information about the changing STEM landscape, STEM-related education and career opportunities in the U.S. Army and civilian sector, including healthcare, engineering and technology.

This is the sixth year that the U.S. Army has partnered with HHF in an effort to connect U.S. Army and local STEM leaders with students to help them build the leadership skills necessary to achieve future success. Throughout the event, students engaged with local U.S. Army representatives at their exhibit tables, participated in a career panel designed to help students build a roadmap for their future, as well as an interactive leadership workshop led by U.S. Army Soldiers.


Captain Carlos Canales (above), Assistant Professor of Military Science at the Arizona State University Army ROTC program in Tempe, Arizona, speaks with students about the many career opportunities and education resources the U.S. Army offers.

Captain Carlos Canales, assistant professor of Military Science at the Arizona State University Army ROTC program in Tempe, AZ, led the Leadership Workshop, “Commanding Your Future: How to Become a Leader of Your Generation.” During the workshop, students learned the meaning of leadership, the professional advantages of being a leader, the responsibilities of leadership, as well as core leader competencies: lead, develop and achieve. At the conclusion of the workshop, students were able to apply what they learned by solving real-life leadership challenges through a series of different scenarios.


Captain Carlos Canales leads the Army Leadership Workshop at Arizona State University, West (above).

Following the workshop, students heard from U.S. Army and local leaders about their personal experiences during the, “Roadmap to STEM Career Panel.” Captain Laura Manzo, U.S. Army Brigade Nurse Counselor for the 5th Brigade ROTC at Fort Sam Houston, TX, discussed her medical career path in the U.S. Army and challenges and opportunities she faced in her professional journey.


Captain Laura Manzo discusses her STEM professional journey during the interactive panel, at Arizona State University, West (above).

On the following day, Captain Carlos Canales discussed the various STEM-related positions he has held while serving in the military and gave students a look at his personal career path during the STEM panel.


Captain Carlos Canales joins Phoenix-area community leaders during the interactive panel on at Arizona State University, West.

As Hispanics continue to close the educational gap in the United States by achieving more four-year degrees than ever before, the Army and HHF’s commitment to providing the educational resources for post-secondary success amongst Hispanic youth remains strong. Through its partnership with HHF, the Army has achieved many of its goals for advancement for the Hispanic community, but there remains much work to be done. Though Hispanics are making great strides in the educational realm, they still lag other minority groups in obtaining a four-year degree. It is for this reason that the Army’s commitment to Hispanic advancement in education remains one of its greatest missions.

During this year’s partnership, more than 1,000 high school students and educators engaged with Army representatives in six LOFT STEM Leadership Symposiums. In addition to the Symposiums, the Army partnered with HHF for the Latinos on Fast Track (LOFT) Coder Summit, a one day event filled with back to back workshops, discussions, and opportunities for attendees to expand their networks, in Miami, Fla. on Feb. 13, 2018.

To learn more about the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, please click here.