For the eighth year, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) collaborate through the H.O.T. (Higher Opportunities Thrive) Summer Youth Conference to expose youth who live in affordable housing to university life and the endless possibilities a college degree can pave.
On Friday, July 14, 70 participants from HACEP’s affordable housing program officially graduated from the annual conference and received their very own H.O.T. diploma from UTEP.
“The H.O.T Summer Youth Conference is a great way to get our talented and deserving HACEP youth into experiencing campus life and exposing them to higher education,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “For the last eight years UTEP has provided a fun and creative way to promote career and college preparation through the H.O.T. Program.”
The H.O.T. Program, a week-long set of college and career awareness classes, was developed for youth ages 10 to 18 in affordable housing to broaden their perspective on career possibilities and offer a taste of what it would be like to be a university student.
The conference provides learning opportunities through an interactive curriculum led by UTEP staff, faculty, student volunteers, conference alumni, and community leaders as their instructors and mentors.
“HACEP is an outstanding partner of the University. Together we promote higher education for the HACEP communities,” said UTEP Assistant Vice President of University Relations Beto Lopez.
Graduates had the opportunity to hear from several notable local leaders who discussed the importance of higher education and offered their own story as to how they managed to overcome adversity in their own lives.
UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio, HACEP Chief Operations Officer Satish Bhaskar and Assistant Vice President of University Relations Beto Lopez each addressed the body of graduates.