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Hundreds of Latino students expected at field trip to IUPUI to learn about college experience

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September 28, 2012

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At least 300 Latino high school students from approximately 18 Indiana schools will participate in a college awareness and preparation seminar Monday, Oct. 1, at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The 12th Annual Post-Secondary Hispanic Seminar, better known as “META: Mapping Education Towards Achievement,” takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd., Indianapolis.

At the one-day event, 30 community members will give presentations about eight career paths: education; science and engineering; the health care fields; computer and graphic design; communication, translation and interpreting; business; the legal field; and social services. Most of these experts are Latinos who will not only provide the students with the information needed about courses and career paths but will also serve as role models for success.

In addition, Latino college student volunteers will spend the day talking one-to-one with the high school students, explaining the college experience.

"Our goal has always been two-fold: First to encourage students to complete high school and plan toward attending the university of their choice, and second to help them navigate the higher education system,” said Enrica J. Ardemagni , professor of Spanish at IUPUI and one of two co-founders of the annual event.

“The META program is housed in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, and students are introduced to the opportunities of a liberal arts education," Ardemagni said. "Through the broad reach of the event's planning committee, however, students also learn about the many options for their post-secondary education; the choices that lie ahead are echoed by the acronym META, which in Spanish means ‘goal,'”

During META, specialists in registration, financial aid and scholarships will also hold workshops for high school counselors and teachers to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate services in their recommendations to high school students.

Beginning in 2000, Ardemagni and META co-founder Angela Adams formed a planning committee for outreach among Latino students who needed assistance on making career choices and information on financial options.

With IUPUI providing the space for the one-day field trip, the original planning committee included the Indiana Department of Education, Ivy Tech and individuals from area high schools.
The planning committee has since growth to 13 individuals, who represent a range of organizations including La Plaza Inc. and the Indiana Latino Institute.

“META has achieved its goal, starting with less than 100 students the first year and reaching 450 students and teachers in 2011,” Ardemagni said. “These past 11 years have proven very effective, and the community has been supportive, with sponsors such as State Farm Insurance, Indiana Farm Bureau, Lewis & Kappes LLC and the Lumina Foundation for Higher Education. Indianapolis Motor Speedway also joined the list of sponsors this year.”