"The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.
" - Nikola Tesla
Dear AISS Supporter,

During the last class meeting, scholars spoke with instructor Dr. Rojas about the Coronavirus and different precautions they could take in the next several months to keep them and their communities safe. AISS alumna Angela Casillas also visited and spoke about college life and her experiences at the University of California Irvine. The women of AISS' class, volunteers, and staff also took a photo together to celebrate International Women's Day.

Angela Casillas & Executive Director Debbie Wells

As the end of the school year approaches, scholars have been working hard both in school and with AISS. Due to COVID-19, there has been an unexpected halt in the scholars’ junior year. From March 16th to April 13th, SAUSD students will no longer be physically attending school, but rather be completing assignments through Google Classroom and other mediums. The sudden closing of schools is in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and for the safety of students and staff.

The pandemic has caused panic for many families, but we urge you to only buy your weekly necessities to leave enough supplies for those who need it the most. Remember to practice good hand-washing skills and stay at home if you feel sick. On behalf of the AISS family, stay safe!

To read AISS Executive Director Debbie Wells' full statement regarding COVID-19, click here.

Adamaris Gasca
Godinez Fundamental High School

My name is Adamaris Gasca. I enjoy observing and practicing the arts such as dance, visual arts, and music. I am currently involved in dance at school and I volunteered my time at the Heritage Museum by painting a mural. I enjoy math and art and I plan to major in an area involving both like Architecture.
As children, we dream of becoming doctors, firefighters, and teachers. At that time, we did not know of the path needed to reach those goals. As we go through high school, we realize that attending college is our best chance of accomplishing those dreams that we had as children. With the opportunity to go to college, we are able to provide for our families, have financial stability, and we also set ourselves up for doing something we love for as long as we can.

With a college degree and a stable job, I hope to provide for my parents as they have for me. My parents have always been supportive for what I have wanted to achieve academically. Going to college will complete the dreams that they and that I have for me to become a professional. Not only would I be able to pay all my necessities, but it will also allow me to help the community in which I have grown up in. Moreover, having the opportunity to go to college allows me to do something I love for as long as I possibly can. Going to college will allow me to apply my math and art skills into architecture in order to make our society a better place for all.
AISS has taught me to open up to new experiences, they all lead to growth.
Omar Tena
AISS Class of 2015
I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and currently work as an Additive Manufacturing Design Engineer at Boeing in St. Louis, MO. This spring, I will be attending Washington University to pursue a Master's in Mechanical Engineering that will be paid for by Boeing's generous tuition assistance program. 

When I was in high school, I planned on following the path of least resistance; I would go to the first college that accepted me and study towards the simplest career choice. AISS, however, taught me the value of pushing myself to not only dream big, but to work to my fullest potential. My undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University was at first extremely challenging and caught me off guard. I went through one of the toughest tests of grit and perseverance that I believe I will ever endure. 
But because of the strong value of work ethic and the foundation of professional skills given to me by AISS, I was able to become the person I am today. I am very proud of the progress I have made since then. I will always be grateful to AISS for convincing me to set my sights on a school like CMU and sticking to it, through thick and thin.
Previously, my go to advice was to keep a friendly attitude in all areas of life because you make friends in the places you least expect. Now I will say that the best advice I can give is to continuously push yourself outside your comfort zone, physically and mentally. I believe most of my growth was through testing myself in these new and intimidating environments. Eventually you'll develop a strong desire to keep pursuing the unknown. You'll grow so much that you'll see the old you as almost unrecognizable. 


Alix Portillo
Compliance Specialist, Opus Bank

For the last year, I have had the opportunity to volunteer with AISS. I have been volunteering at the students' classes on Saturdays, and without a doubt getting to know all the students has been incredible. During my time with AISS’ Classes of 2019 and now 2021, I have had the opportunity to hear each scholar’s education and career goals, and let me tell you, these students are beyond words. The scholars are among the brightest in their schools and they are all extremely driven and committed to their work. Being able to work with them through the college process from choosing schools to attend, to helping them with applications, to hearing some of them get accepted to their dream schools has been a privilege. It is apparent that AISS is truly committed to helping these students fulfill their dream academic and professional careers. It has been a pleasure to volunteer with an organization that is making such a positive impact on the students in our community.
Alix recently joined AISS’ Board of Directors.


  • 8th Annual Bridging The Gap Celebration- June 5, 2020

The mission of the Achievement Institute of Scientific Studies (AISS) is to guide high achieving, economically disadvantaged high school students interested in pursuing a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. We not only help students get accepted into college, but also with the years beyond - through graduation and establishing their careers.
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