"It's not easy to be a pioneer, but oh, is it fascinating!"- Elizabeth Blackwell,  first American woman to earn a medical degree
Dear AISS Supporter,

The staff and Board of AISS would like to wish you a Happy Holiday Season! We hope this time is filled with fun and fulfillment for you. Thank you for your continued interest and support in AISS. We wouldn't be here without you!

AISS Board
Executive Director Debbie Wells & Founder Paul Riordan

After last month’s Bowl-A-Thon, the scholars have been winding down for the holiday break and ramping up for the upcoming Alumni Luncheon, sending out thank you letters to Bowl-A-Thon donors and working on their presentations for the luncheon December 27.

The scholars also completed surveys about the SATs, which they took earlier in November. The survey asked questions to the scholars about how they felt after the testing. While many performed well (especially for the first time taking the challenging test,) there was a consensus to do even more in-depth test prep in 2020.

After the survey, they continued to work on their group projects for the Alumni Luncheon. The projects focus on developing a solution to a problem in the world they care about. The projects  demonstrate the diversity, creativity, and passion of our scholars. The issues being tackled include clean water in underdeveloped countries, criminal justice reform in the U.S., and animal cruelty in the cosmetics industry.

Scholars presenting their project pitches

In early December, the scholars had two guest speakers speak about their professions. Dr. Khosravi,a specialist in robotic surgery, spoke passionately to the scholars about his experience in the surgical field and the new innovations happening in it. AISS alumna Stephanie Cervantes also came and spoke about her journey from AISS to becoming an urban planner.

Scholars with Dr. Khosravi

Scholars with Alumna Stephanie Cervantes

The scholars are excited for what's to come in 2020. Thank you for reading, and have a Happy Holiday and New Year!


Brian Enriquez
Godinez Fundamental High School

As a child, I loved to figure out how the world worked with machines and everyday technology. This translated into a love and passion for engineering and technology. My interest first started in the robotics club and MESA (Math, Engineering, Science, Architect) class in middle school, where all my classmates needed to design a robot that would automatically be controlled by a controller or program to do obstacles in competitions. My design won second in the SAUSD Robotics Invitational. The event was called “Sumo Robots”, and I have been in this field since. In my high school years, I have joined MESA to try and take advantage of all the engineering opportunities that my school offers. 
Outside of school, I'm committed to community service. I organize events to help families in disadvantaged situations. I’m fluent in Spanish (and speak a little Japanese), and I am always looking to improve my language skills. I’m currently trying to improve my coding skills with programs that will help me in Python and Java coding languages. I adapt and lead with an ability to work alone or in a group and I try to think creatively and efficiently.
Ruth Beltran
AISS Class of 2017
Attending the AISS Scholars Program throughout my junior and senior years was one of the most beneficial experiences I ever encountered at Segerstrom High School. I found a home in a community where I knew I could find moral and academic support for my studies along with a learning environment for developing my career. From attending study trips with professors to interacting with STEM professionals, AISS gave me the opportunity to network and extern with companies, one being Edwards Lifesciences. I am so grateful and blessed to have had this program when I was in high school and I would say to the scholars in the program now: take advantage of any opportunities that come your way and be ready for them, for success comes when luck meets preparation.

Ruth Beltran is now a Research Assistant at UCI School of Medicine.

Nidia Garcia
Senior Technical Writer, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation

Education has been a gift of opportunity and a passion of mine since I could remember. As a kid I’d play school with my parents who were learning English. I’d pretend I was their teacher, giving lessons and assignments. My dad was always the worst offender when it came to completing his assignments. After high school, it seemed only logical to pursue a college education and become a teacher. It seemed logical, until I had my first internship teaching a high school English class. You mean I have to stand in front of how many teenagers and get them to complete how many assignments? I couldn’t even get my dad to complete his assignments and that was 1 person in a class of 2. At this point I started exploring different career paths. I took a class in manual writing and found the process of simplifying complex processes and communicating to a global audience riveting. You mean I can educate people without having to interact with them!? 

After college, I met AISS Executive Director Debbie Wells. While working with Debbie and learning more about the program, I began reflecting on my own educational choices. I questioned why I had wanted to be a teacher. What were other career paths I had considered? How did I even know what to consider? I didn’t. I had little exposure to career options. In high school I didn’t even know what engineers did. I didn’t know, because how could I? My parents, although they have instilled valuable knowledge and have shaped me into the person I am today, did not graduate college, they didn’t even go to middle school. I didn’t know any engineers, scientists, project managers, analysts, medical specialists, web coders; I had never met one. I knew teachers. It seemed trivial then, but knowing the options that were available to me and talking to someone about them could have carved a completely different path for me. I didn’t end up where I am today by making educated choices; I was extremely lucky. This is one of the biggest reasons why I support AISS’ mission. They give kids from an economically disadvantaged community, my community, a greater opportunity to succeed by helping them make educated choices for their future.    
  • Alumni Luncheon - December 27, 2019
  • Career Day- February, 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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