AT MPOWER, we know that affording college is only one of many obstacles faced by students who want to further their education. Recently, we sent one of our MPOWER employees to the Mary’s Center Adolescent “Teen” Education Program to promote the benefits of a higher education to students. The Mary’s Center, a D.C-based organization, provides low-income families with basic resources to education, health and social services. Its after-school education program, filled with workshops and an open space for students to interact, offers a supportive environment for those who are first-generation students in the United States and might be experiencing difficulties in school because of cultural barriers.

At a panel event at the Mary’s Center called “Exciting Tech,” William Hernandez of MPOWER spoke to students to motivate and prepare them for college. The panel focused on sparking students’ interest in degrees within the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), hopefully exciting those still trying to figure out what to study in college.

Other participants on the panel included a web developer from television network PBS, a security analyst from Financial Services and Information Sharing Center (FS-ISAC), and a startup companion from the company Ride Amigos.

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Student asks panelists about college degrees

The room was filled with students in grades 9-12 who had immigrated from all over Latin America, many of whose first language was Spanish. As the panel continued, it became clear that the common theme among students was their confusion about the college application process. Many of the panelists agreed that the students’ experiences were universal, sharing insights into the struggles they too had faced when pursuing higher education. Students also admitted that the large majority of those entering their final year of high school had no idea about the next steps needed in order to make the leap into college. Most of them also had no idea what they wanted to pursue after college, or how to narrow down their career and college choices.

This college application barrier resonates with us at MPOWER. Not knowing how to maneuver through the college application process is a challenge that can be just as impactful to a young person’s life as not being able to pay for college.

As a company, we at MPOWER know the importance of education and how it can provide us with tremendous opportunities. For us, it’s personal: Co-founders Mike and Manu both struggled to pay for their college education, and William’s high school academic successes would have been in vain if not for the great mentors he found to guide him in his college application process.

At MPOWER, our team is motivated to open more doors to education so students can find their own successes.

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Panelists from left to right: Renzo Olguin (PBS), Richard Campos (FS-ISAC), Prachi Vakharia and partner (Ride amigos), and William Hernandez (MPOWER)

MPOWER looks forward to continuing to promote higher education to students and to provide them with the financial means to acquire it.

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