NHI announces partnership with St. Mary’s College for new LDZ program
The National Hispanic Institute — celebrating 40 years of developing high-performing Latino high school students into leaders through an innovative, immersive learning experience — will partner with St. Mary’s College of Maryland to open a new location for its flagship legislative session program in 2020.
The inaugural East Coast Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session is slated to begin at the university July 12-19, 2020. Like the established programs in Texas, California, Colorado, and Panama, this LDZ program will provide 150 top high-school students an eight-day experience in which they form political parties, run for offices, and propose and debate legislation as part of a public policy exercise. More importantly, students gain experience in participating in a democracy whereby they work on policy design, process and protocol, systems navigation, and constituency development. It also gives some students to live on a college campus for the first time.
While the LDZ encourages and teaches collaboration, it also provides each student an opportunity to make an individualized leadership journey inspiring lifelong civic engagement. It has become a rite of passage for a growing number of Latino students/ Two current members of Congress, New Mexico’s Xochitl Torres-Small and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, graduated from the LDZ program as part of their development as leaders.
“We’re excited about this partnership with St. Mary’s College of Maryland, particularly because our students could potentially continue their studies there at the Center for the Study of Democracy,” said Nicole Nieto, Executive Vice President. “We anticipate students from throughout the nation and all of the Americas to choose St. Mary’s College of Maryland for their LDZ experience. Its proximity to Washington, D.C. will allow us to make a day trip there as part of the East Coast LDZ, making it unique among our programs.”
“We are delighted to welcome the LDZ program to St. Mary’s College of Maryland, The National Public Honors College. Our beautiful waterfront campus in Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland’s first capital, is an ideal location for these aspiring leaders to deeply engage in this enriching program,” said David L. Hautanen, Jr., vice president for enrollment management at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
The LDZ, as it’s known to NHIers, is the second part of a three-part series of summer programs, designed by NHI for high school students with high potential to become leaders within the U.S. and global Latino communities.
Though NHI notes that 98 percent of its students enter college, with 90 percent receiving college degrees within five years, the program is focused on much more than higher education, seeing college as only one step towards a principled leadership thinking about the Latino community as an opportunity to develop its assets.
It’s a forward-looking leadership program; NHI president and founder Ernesto Nieto notes it is geared toward what communities throughout the Americas will need in the decades to come. NHI has developed the concept of immersive-disruptive learning — a self-directed, student-centered learning method that encourages critical thinking and challenges society’s assumptions and conventions — to provide both a compliment and a contrast to the education students experience during the school year.
“For 40 years, NHI has challenged Latino students to fulfill their potential as leaders, to make their communities self-sustaining, and to honor their history and heritage as part of their measure of success,” Nieto said.
To apply for this LDZ program, visit the NHI website’s Apply for Summer 2020 page.