"Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character"- Albert Einstein
Dear AISS Supporter,

As last month’s Alumni Luncheon drew closer, the scholars worked rigorously to improve and perfect their research presentations. Each group tackled a world problem of their choice and came up with a potential solution. The teams chose important issues that ranged from plastic pollution in our oceans to the U.S. foster care system. Scholars also practiced their presentations during their Saturday sessions before presenting for the Luncheon.
Scholar teams present their projects at Alumni Luncheon

The scholars worked on posters that represented a career they’re interested in pursuing. Each poster was a unique way of showcasing the scholar’s professional interests. The purpose of the poster was to put it up at the Alumni Luncheon so that everyone who attended could get to know the students better. The scholars were expected to network with alumni and other guests to help them practice for the real world.

Scholars' posters

The day of the Alumni Luncheon finally arrived and it was time for scholars to present their topics. This event was not only so that the scholars could present, but to put their networking skills into action and try to connect with the AISS alumni and board members/faculty.

Current scholar Cielo Echegoyen presented on how AISS has benefited her thus far. Alumni also spoke to the scholars, including Vivian Pham (Class of 2015), who recently began as a software engineer at Qualcomm and Ruth Beltran (Class of 2017), who is pursuing a Biomedical and Pre-Medicine degree at UCI and interning at  a clinic.

Alumni speaking on panel

Recent AISS graduate Julian Reyes, who just finished his first semester at UC San Diego, spoke in depth about the emotional impact AISS had on him. "I never thought I'd be in this position right now talking to you guys," Julian told the room. "I thank AISS- without them, I wouldn't be where I am right now." 

Julian Reyes and AISS Instructor Dr. Ortiz-Franco

We are looking forward to the new year and the new memories that will be made. Thank you for following our journey!

To read more about our Alumni Luncheon, click here.

Jonathan Fuentes
Samueli Academy

My desire to help others for the sake of their well-being has been an important value in my life. Psychiatry is something that has stuck with me ever since I was a little boy. The joy of looking at someone who has turned their life around from a dark place motivates me to continue. It leads me to believe that what I am doing is fit for me. 

I speak fluent Spanish and am efficient with the work given to me. I am also very detailed-oriented with my work, leading to accuracy. In my spare time, I enjoy playing volleyball and going to different places with my friends and family. I read books, whatever kind that interest me, and I also really, really love listening to different kinds of music.
AISS has taught me to step out of my comfort zone by talking to a variety of people.
Isabel Pham
AISS Class of 2019
As a first-generation student, I was very nervous about going into my first quarter at UCI. In my high school, the computer science program was not offered-- I was worried that I would be behind the other kids that are also entering the prestigious school. As an AISS scholar, I learned how to network; with the networking skills that I gained from the program, I found out about a transitional summer program at UCI for STEM students. This program helped me better understand programming up to my first midterm, making my transition to a quarter environment easier.
Not only did AISS assist me in finding academic guidance, but they also provided a mentor by introducing me to Judy Greespon. Coming from a low-income family, obtaining financial support was difficult. Finding money for my books and materials for classes would be challenging-- I was worried that my financial issues would prevent me from my educational goals. Luckily, Judy Greenspon reached out and assisted in my academic expenses. I was so thankful for this.
 If AISS did not support me, I would've had a more difficult time adapting to the university. While at the university, I recollected all the information I acquired while going on a study trip with AISS. With these skills, it made my transition easier since I got to know some of the clubs and resources beforehand. I recently joined Women in Information and Computer Sciences (WICS). There, I got to talk to women who are currently pursuing or already graduated from computer science. Some of the speakers work in big companies like Facebook and Google. I hope to use my networking skills that I gained from AISS to continue my education journey.


Judy Greenspon
Founder, NPI Services

Helping others has always been part of my life. A successful nonprofit must manage scarce resources, constantly network for donations and know how to build diverse cultural teams that produce results. In some ways, like being in the Peace Corps or running a technology startup. I started my company NPI Services, Inc. 21 years ago by building diverse teams with entry level college graduates who developed into high performance professional STEM program managers. The experience of yesterday is not what today’s employers want. We want detailed- oriented curious STEM problem solvers who can think outside the box and innovate. Couple that with some people skills and you have tomorrow’s team leaders. 
As a local business owner, I would like to thank Paul Riordan for his vision to develop Orange County’s STEM work force of tomorrow. I am thrilled to be an Ambassador of this worthwhile organization. I also want to thank Debbie Wells and the board for the opportunity to contribute in-kind and monetarily to AISS events, programs and most importantly the AISS Scholars. Last year scholar Isabel Pham and I bowled together during AISS’ 2nd Annual Bowl-a-Thon. Later that year when I attended AISS 7th Annual Bridging the Gap, she shared that she would be going to UCI for Computer Science. I am so happy for Isabel and her family and offered to sponsor her while she is at UCI.
  • Career Day- February 21, 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.
If you would like to support AISS and help our scholars achieve their goals and dreams please click below
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