"We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done." - Alan Turing
Dear AISS Supporter,

We're excited to announce this year's 8th Annual Bridging the Gap Celebration will be June 5! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for event details!


Over the past months, the scholars have been working toward taking their SATs in March. They’ve studied tirelessly for Reading and Writing portion with instructor Dr. Rojas and the Math portion with Dr. Ortiz and Alex Guizar. Additionally, they’ve been taking actual CollegeBoard practice SAT tests.They were also taught about the importance of research and were given resources which allowed them to access important information they might need.

Last Friday, the scholars had their Career Day at Project Youth OCBF in order to learn about different career pathways and how to land a job in a variety of industries.

Leaders from different careers held tables with info and displays of their companies and talked to AISS scholars and Project Youth students. The displays varied based on their professions; the Bolsa Chica Conservancy had one of the most interesting exhibits.

AISS Scholars speaking to Orange County Coroner Erica Arellano

Bolsa Chica Conservatory Program Coordinator Jeannette Bush introduces Queen Victoria

Later, a panel was held with a select few speakers, where each detailed their professional journey and shared advice. Panelists included members from the Santa Ana Police Department, SAUSD, and Tera Engineering Co. Founder and AISS alumna Karla Perez.

 Other workshops discussing like resume writing, interviews, and networking were also held by AISS alumnus Joshua Lopez and Executive Director Debbie Wells.

AISS Alumnus Josh Lopez gives tips on resume writing

Scholars were able to network with the companies that attended, which included Edwards Lifesciences, Santa Ana College, Cordoba Corp, and Poseidon Water.

The scholars also presented a fashion show featuring the do’s and don’t’s of dressing for success. Each team broke down how to dress (or not dress) for a casual, business casual and business professional setting.

How to Dress (and not dress) For Success

The day went incredibly, allowing AISS scholars to learn and connect with different careers. Thank you to all who donated their time, and an especially big thanks to Project Youth OCBF for partnering with AISS and hosting the event.

Christopher Garcia
Samueli Academy

I aspire to become a Trauma Surgeon. I have strong values, ambition, passion, involvement in community, and leadership qualities as a junior at Samueli Academy.
I’m a well-rounded person who always wants to improve my knowledge no matter what I have to do. I am one of the top students at my school, founding 2 clubs there. I hope to be an asset to my community by getting into one of the most prestigious schools in the country. 
My family income added setbacks in my education. I didn’t believe that I would have all the opportunities that a person whose family’s income is higher than mine. However, a great opportunity came when I  applied to AISS.
At my core, I’m just a mother’s son who really wants to impact his community and family. That’s all it really comes down to. I’m set on helping others with a protagonist personality. 
AISS has enhanced my knowledge and given me the confidence that anyone can become successful--including myself.
Julian Reyes
AISS Class of 2019
A graduate of Godinez Fundamental High School and AISS, Julian showed an interest in mathematics and engineering. During his time in the program, Julian took on a leadership position as a student communications intern and lead scholar working alongside AISS Executive Director Debbie Wells. He also interned for Edwards Lifesciences during the summer 2019.

 He is now attending UC San Diego pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
Julian was amongst one of the most introverted when he was first introduced to AISS. Julian came in intimidated by all the other students, not believing he can reach the same intellectual level as his colleagues. As time went on, Debbie urged Julian to take on leadership roles, one being a project manager for the Girls Stem fair with the organization Big Brother Big Sisters. As time went on, Julian stepped up to ask to be a team lead within AISS and eventually offered an opportunity to be a liaison for his colleagues and communicate resolutions. AISS has assisted Julian in the journey after high school, building confidence in himself, obtaining networking skill, and creating the influencer he is today.
At college, Julian has carried his AISS experience with him, helping him through his first year, allowing him to network with others, time manage work and school, letting no one stop him in his path to success. Wanting to influence and help many people in this world, Julian would like a position where he can do just that, taking his future mechanical engineering degree to where his interest meets his passion.
Julian would like to thank Debbie Wells and AISS staff for pushing him to be the best he can be and helping him grow to the outgoing young man he is today.

Danielle Lara
Leadership Coach & Team Development Consultant

Danielle C. Lara, MSW is a Leadership Coach and Team Development Consultant helping individuals and organizations recognize and leverage their strengths. She also works with leadership teams and work groups to develop customized strategies in communication, collaboration and feedback.
Having a previous career in biotechnology management, Danielle designed and implemented quality assurance measures to improve efficiency for a fast-growing biotech company, while cultivating a positive workplace environment alongside her team.
She continued to refine her skills in leadership and team development while serving as president for an on-campus student group at the University of Southern California (USC), where she recruited executive board leadership and promoted events and activities. Additionally, she has served as a consultant for various nonprofits, including the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and University of Southern California, in order to improve operations, fundraising and marketing.
Danielle was drawn to serve as an AISS Board Member due to her own experience in the Biological Sciences and her passion for the education and leadership development of youth.

  • 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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