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Mount Vernon Teen Attends Prestigious Smithsonian Program

Mount Vernon resident Nicole Chavez with a representative from Ford Motor Company, which in part sponsors the Young Ambassadors Program. Photo Credit: Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Latino Center. Photograph
The Mount Vernon teenager was among 21 students from around the country chosen to receive professional development training at the Smithsonian Latino Center. Photo Credit: Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Latino Center. Photograph

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – While many of her fellow graduates are spending their final summer before college gaining work experience and earning extra money with odd jobs, Mount Vernon outgoing high school senior Nicole Chavez has been chosen to join a prestigious Smithsonian professional development program.

Nicole Chavez, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Award winner has been chosen to be one of 21 college-bound high school students from throughout the country that will “jumpstart their professional careers” at the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Young Ambassadors Program.

As part of the Young Ambassadors Program, the participants enjoyed “Week in Washington,” at the Smithsonian, where they underwent career training, before being sent back to their communities to participate in a four-week paid internship at a “prestigious museum or cultural center.”

Since returning from her trip to Washington, D.C., Chavez has been interning at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design in Manhattan, the only museum in the country solely dedicated to design. Once the internship concludes, she will receive an additional $2,000 stipend, which she said will contribute toward her goal of studying at Yale.

Now in its 10th year, the Young Ambassadors Program has benefitted more than 200 students, with the help of more than $1 million of funding from the Ford Motor Company Fund, which is “fostering the next generation of Latino leaders.” To celebrate the milestone anniversary, the Smithsonian held an alumni weekend highlighted this year’s crop of students.

“Through various professional development workshops and a joyous (anniversary) celebration, this milestone weekend drew an impressive attendance of over 200 alums, faculty and supporters who travelled from all over the country to partake,” Smithsonian Latino Center Director Eduardo Diaz said. “For over 10 years, this program excels in enabling young Latinos and Latinas to harness their talents, known and unknown, and equips them to be leaders in their own community.”

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