Smithsonian Latino Center Celebrates 10th Annual Young Ambassadors Program

Students Celebrate Latino Art, Culture and Science Throughout the Summer
June 25, 2015
News Release

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The Smithsonian Latino Center will welcome 22 graduating high school seniors from across the country to participate in its 10th annual Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) this summer. YAP is a unique leadership program that fosters the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities. To celebrate the program’s 10-year anniversary, the Smithsonian Latino Center has invited the more than 180 YAP alumni for an anniversary weekend in Washington, D.C., which will include networking and professional development opportunities.

The program empowers young Latinos to become community leaders and lifelong learners. Students come to Washington for a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity at the Smithsonian, where they participate in workshops with Latino scholars and leaders, such as filmmakers, journalists, curators, artists, scientists, musicians, poets and CEOs.

After their time in Washington students complete a four-week internship at a partner cultural or science museum in one of 17 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Participating students become part of the YAP alumni network, which provides continuing professional and leadership development opportunities. By continuing to engage students, YAP helps transform teenage high school graduates into college-educated, young professionals poised for success in their early careers. The YAP alumni network boasts a 97 percent college graduation rate, and many alumni have embarked on successful careers in the arts, business, education and technology sectors, among others.

The students are selected because they demonstrate high academic achievement as well as civic responsibility and community service. They are required to work with a local library on a literacy-building project as part of their internship. Upon completion of their internships, students receive a $2,000 stipend to apply toward college and related expenses. 

YAP partners with the following organizations throughout the country:

  • Arizona Science Center
  • Musical Instrument Museum (Arizona)
  • Museum of Latin American Art (California)
  • Chabot Space and Science Center (California)
  • California Science Center
  • History Colorado Center
  • National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.)
  • HistoryMiami (Florida)
  • Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science (Florida)
  • Atlanta History Center (Georgia)
  • National Museum of Mexican Art Adler Planetarium (Illinois)
  • Explora (New Mexico)
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York City)
  • Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
  • The Thinkery (Texas)
  • San Antonio Museum of Art
  • The Witte Museum (Texas)
  • Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Texas)
  • Talento Bilingüe de Houston
  • Children’s Museum of Houston (Texas) 
  • The Museum of Flight (Washington)

Ford Motor Company Fund is a major sponsor of the Young Ambassadors Program, and for the past eight years, their continued support has created college readiness career-preparedness opportunities for graduating high school students at some of the most prestigious cultural institutions around the country.

“Ford’s long-standing commitment to education continues to impact and enrich the lives of thousands of students across the county,” said Joe Avila, community outreach manager at the Ford Motor Company Fund. “As a partner and sponsor of the Young Ambassadors Program, these students will have access to paid internships and experience an opportunity of a lifetime that will help shape their future academic and career success.”

The Smithsonian Latino Center ensures that Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian and its affiliated organization across the U.S. and internationally. For information on the Young Ambassadors Program, visit

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. For more information, visit

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