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CWSx, Digital Leadership Experiences

NHI prepares for first-ever CWS, announces first-round draft picks for student teams

Angela Masciale in CWSx intro video
Posted: June 26, 2020 at 3:15 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The National Hispanic Institute’s first, great adventure in its 2020 Digital Learning Experiences programming will start Monday, when the first of two CWSx programs launches. Sponsored by the University of Denver, and involving students from across the U.S. and throughout the Americas, the two-day program will take 160 students through the college admissions portion of NHI’s cornerstone program.

“In many ways, CWS has always looked to the trends in higher education, specifically with college admissions and financial aid,” Senior Vice President over Education and Training, “That journey of decision making, evaluation, and research includes knowledge and understanding translatable to many other life experiences. Right now, just like everything, colleges are transforming. The CWSx will actually simulate what the admissions process will look like more and more, involving comprehensive digital profiles and portfolios, more video communication, online tours, and online fairs.”

He noted that the online experience that NHIers will get to experience in its Digital College Fairs July 8 and 30—from a partnership formed via an NHI alumna—is the same one that corporations and graduate schools are using to connect with a global market of potential students and future employees.

“Students at CWSx will have the added challenge of not simply having to present themselves in writing or through an interview, but also through what they convey in their digital image on LinkedIn and in how they display themselves through a screen,” Cotto added. “CWSx participants will still collaborate with admissions professionals, doing it through the Zoom and Google devices they’re using frequently.”

He also noted that the CWSx staff is invested in bringing participants together prior to Monday’s log on, which includes a live Town Hall with NHI founders Ernesto Nieto and Gloria de Leon and an orientation session, both on Sunday night. “We’re working hard to create community and build energy leading up to the program.

“The National Hispanic Institute’s bread and butter has always been to create impactful in-person leadership experiences for our participants,” noted Angela Masciale, Co-Education director for this first CWSx and an NHI Board member. “Despite the circumstances this year, NHI is thoroughly committed to providing an impactful leadership experience through the exciting realm of technology.”

In recent years, the CWS has evolved into a two-part program: The League Series, covering the college application process, and the Thought Series, introducing students to inquiry-based learning.

As Masciale observed, “We felt that the inaugural CWSx program could fulfill the Collegiate World Series portion digitally, combining pre-program connections with staff, university coaches, and students through the use of technologies such as Moodle, Discord, and TikTok. Each of these technologies provides unique opportunities to connect to participants prior to and throughout the program.”

“Students have been posting their activity drafts to Moodle in advance for university coaches to provide feedback prior to program start, allowing for more coaching during the program than years past. Discord is used as the one-stop shop for students to communicate with each other, and to keep track of program announcements or deadlines. Students are utilizing TikTok to create 15-second pitches as to why they would be great team members for the university teams. The ingenuity of the staff will continue to impact how we run programs and connect with participants in the future.”

The CWSx will include many of the elements of the on-campus program, including students being drafted onto teams representing 16 different universities, including a number of NHI College Register members: American University, Baylor University, Elizabethtown College, Emory University, Florida International University, New York University, Schreiner University, Southwestern University, St. Edward’s University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Arlington, and Vanderbilt University.

The program began in earnest on Thursday evening, when the first-round draft picks were introduced via a special video update sent to all students.


2020 CWSx 1, First-Round Draft Picks (with team in parentheses)

Cassie Brewer, Incarnate Word High School, San Antonio, Texas (American University)
Aron Basurto, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas (Baylor University)
Andrea Leon Gonzalez, Escuela Sierra Nevada Interlomas, Mexico, Mexico, (Elizabethtown College)
Lauren Gonzalez, Communications Arts High School, San Antonio, Texas (Emory University)
Gabriela Perales, Incarnate Word High School, San Antonio, Texas (Florida International University)
Yajaira Juana, Cotulla High School, Cotulla, Texas (New York University)
Vishal Nair, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio, Texas (Schreiner University)
Angela Gutierrez, IDEA College Prep Edinburg, Edinburg, Texas (Southwestern University)
Olivia Gouveia, El Paso High School, El Paso, Texas (St. Edward’s University)
Michael Mestre, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Miami, Florida (St. Mary’s University)
Angelina Garcia, R.L. Paschal High School, Fort Worth, Texas, (Texas A&M University-San Antonio)
Fabian Obregon Plascencia, Instituto Lux, Leon, Mexico (University of Denver)
Alondra Guerrero, IDEA Frontier College Prep, Brownsville, Texas (University of Northern Colorado)
Tania Garcia-Jasso, Oratory Athenaeum for University Preparation, Pharr, Texas (University of Pittsburgh)
Natasha Flores-Acton, Central High School, San Angelo, Texas (University of Texas at Arlington)
Natalia Madrigal, Lyons Township High School, La Grange, Illinois (Vanderbilt University)

Students will even get physical items mailed to them—most notably, the shirts identifying them as university team members—to engage them and make them feel more connected to the program.

Veronica Martinez, who has shifted from her initial planned role as a volunteer on-site coordinator for the Texas CWS program to the NHI intern overseeing CWSx logistics, has been doing everything from coordinating with a 30-person volunteer staff to mailing shirts to students to provide the best possible experience for students.

She notes that while doing this program online creates new challenges, a number of people involved with the program have helped run CWS programs before, and understand what’s most important in the League Series.

“It’s about making sure that, in taking the next steps that you’re about to take in life, you’re not just following,” she remarked. “I feel like when you’re in high school, you have this vision where you need to follow certain rules and social norms. You’re hearing a lot of voices saying. “You should be doing this,” and “You should be doing that. That makes you feel really overwhelmed. At the CWS, you have mentors who actually guide you throughout that process and ask you, “Why do you want to go to this school?”

When Martinez attended the 2016 Texas CWS—before choosing Pitzer College, where she’s about to enter her senior year—she gained a new perspective on choosing college. She notes that looking into what classes a school offers student, the environment it provides, and going beyond just its name or prestige.

The University of Denver was slated to host the first-ever Rocky Mountain Collegiate World Series last week, but the NHI board decided April 1 to postpone its 2020 on-campus leadership programs, and shortly after announced that the CWS program would become one of NHI’s summer digital offerings.

For students who missed the first CWSx registration period, but still want to get in on the second

Updates on the CWSx, including observations from students participating in the first-of-its-kind program, will be at

This program is sponsored in part by State Farm and Union Pacific.

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