I have a long history with AISS and Paul Riordan, the founder of AISS. AISS has been a part of my family for almost 20 years. Back in 2003, my older brother, Ricardo, was the first program manager. In 2005 I took over that role and oversaw the completion of the classes of 2007 and 2009. My younger brother, Joshua, would go on to participate as a scholar in the class of 2015. This program had a significant impact on the three of us. Paul provided us an opportunity for employment while going to school and we helped him fulfill a vision of helping young people from Santa Ana pursue education and careers in STEM.
Paul was my mentor, friend, and even though he would’ve hated the comparison, a grandfather figure I could confide in and learn from. Paul showed me a world where young people who looked like me and had similar life experiences as me could pursue careers in STEM and harness skills that would make them successful in the classroom, in their profession, and eventually for some, in the board room.