Yakima Valley Partners for Education and Save the Children use digital resources to expand reading opportunities for elementary students


Yakima Valley Partners for Education and Save the Children work to develop enhanced reading habits in third-graders by providing access to digital books library.

Toppenish, Wash.– Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) and Save the Children are working to grow the reading skills of third-graders in the lower Yakima Valley by connecting them to digital reading. About 400 students in the Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview School Districts have received access to the “myON” digital library, a resource with more than 6,000 digital books. Also, students can use a public library provided by Unite for Literacy.

This effort started on November 1, 2021 with literacy outreach rallies in each school district, and focused on the importance of children reading at least 20 minutes a day. “We realize this is a challenging task for many families to accomplish,” said YVPE Director Suzy Diaz. “That is why we are making these additional resources available to encourage student reading in the home with language and narration options to meet their individual needs.”

Jared Lind, director of instructional improvement for the Grandview School District in Grandview, Wash., said not only is this initiative an effort to increase the time students read each day, it prepares them for future learning. “With access to a digital library and an extensive choice of books outside of the school day, students will have the opportunity to establish reading habits that will promote essential skills necessary for school and beyond,” said Lind.

YVPE and Save the Children will monitor use of myON in November and December to track student progress. To reduce possible screen fatigue, users can access narration options in both English and Spanish. For more information, contact David Mance at 509-969-6084 or mance_D@heritage.edu.

About Save the Children

Since its founding more than 100 years ago, Save the Children has changed the lives of more than 1 billion children in the United States and around the world, helping ensure children grow up healthy, educated and safe.

Save the Children is a central program partner, with three Early Learning Coordinators placed in the Grandview School District, serving 150 children locally through home visiting, book bag exchanges, and various food, learning materials, and essential resource distributions. They have also provided catalytic financial and technical investments to help launch this work.

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Heritage University’s Early Learning Center to offer expanded range of services in new state-of-the-art facility


Heritage University’s Early Learning Center to offer expanded range of services in new state-of-the-art facility

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. announced today that thanks to the generosity of an anonymous private donor, it will break ground on December 3, 2021 on a new $3.2 million state-of-the-art Early Learning Facility to serve the needs of the community. The new five-classroom facility will serve children between the ages of 12 months and kindergarten, providing pre-kindergarten instruction known to be invaluable in later years of scholastic achievement.  The center is scheduled to open in the winter of 2022. The groundbreaking ceremony will start at 12:00 p.m.   

Heritage University’s mission of making higher education accessible regardless of economic, cultural or social barriers, is also shared by the university’s Early Learning Center (ELC). The university’s ELC strives to help families with similar access and financial challenges, to prepare their children for success in kindergarten and beyond. “Our early learning programs are designed to offer experiences that enhance and enrich each child’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, physical and creative development,” said ELC Executive Director Claudette Lindquist. “We believe that good child care is good family care. However, our basic philosophy is one of freedom to learn, grow and make choices and we have structured the environment to reflect that belief.”

Quality early learning experiences help prepare children for success in kindergarten, leading to improved educational outcomes during their middle school, high school, and college years. It’s a strategy embraced by Yakima Valley Partners for Education, a Collective Impact initiative started by Heritage University and supported by collaborations with schools and communities throughout the lower Yakima Valley. “We have a deep understanding of the formative role of early education as well as the need to build on the resilience and skills of youth throughout their educational journey,” said Collective Impact Director Suzy Diaz. “We take a cradle-to-career view of improving educational outcomes so that our youth develop into thriving members of our community, and it’s a view wholeheartedly embraced by Heritage University’s ELC.”

Lindquist says the ELC also prepares Heritage University students for their future careers through work-study opportunities at the ELC that provide them valuable experience in their chosen fields. “We have employed social work and nursing students who perform a wide variety of important roles as assistants at the ELC,” said Lindquist. “The students get to use what they’ve learned in the classroom here, earn a paycheck while in school, and obtain skills and experience coveted by employers.”

In addition to serving the lower Yakima Valley community year-round, the ELC also extends its services to Heritage students, faculty and staff. The ELC is currently licensed to enroll 74 students; the expansion will increase that number to 90. For more information, contact Claudette Lindquist at (509) 865-0723 or Lindquist_C@Heritage.edu. For help with interviews, please contact Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.

Heritage University Early Learning Center rendering by Graham Baba Architects

Heritage University Presents a Land Acknowledgement Statement to the Yakama Nation Recognizing and Respecting the Indigenous Peoples Who Stewarded the Land on which the University Now Resides


Heritage University Presents a Land Acknowledgement Statement to the Yakama Nation Recognizing and Respecting the Indigenous Peoples Who Stewarded the Land on which the University Now Resides

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University (HU) signed a formal Land Acknowledgement Statement (LAS) that recognizes and respects the Indigenous peoples as traditional stewards of the land in central Washington where Heritage is located, and the enduring relationship that exists between the Yakama Nation and their traditional territory. Kip Ramsey, a tribal elder and chair of HU’s Tribal Relations Committee, and Heritage president Andrew Sund, Ph.D. signed the LAS at a ceremony held at the Heritage University Teepee on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

The Land Acknowledgement Statement in full, reads as follows:

Heritage University occupies its home on the traditional lands of the Yakama People. These ancestral homelands are the Yakama, Palouse, Pisquouse, Wenatshapam, Klikatat, Klinquit, Kow- was-say-ee, Li-ay-was, Skin-pah, Wish-ham, Shyiks, Ochechotes, Kah-milt-pa, and Se-ap-cat, who today are represented by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation [TREATY OF 1855] and, whose relationship with this land continues to this day. Heritage University, grounded in the vision of the two Yakama women founders, respects Indigenous peoples as traditional guardians of the lands and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories.  We offer gratitude for the land itself, for those who have stewarded it for generations, and for the opportunity to study, learn, work, and be in community on this land. We acknowledge that our University’s history, like many others, is fundamentally tied to the first colonial developments in the Yakima Valley. Finally, we respectfully acknowledge and honor past, present, and future Indigenous students who will journey through this home called Heritage University.

Maxine Janis, Ed.D., professor and the President’s Liaison for Native American Affairs at Heritage and a member of the Oglala Latoka nation said over the years Heritage has had various land acknowledgement statements used by various individuals but nothing officially authored by the University. “This signed document gives us an official, consistent message of land acknowledgment,” said Dr. Janis. “It’s a message that we truly recognize and respect the privilege it is to have a university on this land.”

Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman Delano Saluskin (left) and Yakama Nation General Council Chairman Roger Fiander (middle left) and Heritage University Board of Directors Tribal Relations Committee Chair Kip Ramsey (right) look on as Heritage president Andrew Sund, Ph.d. (middle right) signs a Land Acknowledgement Statement recognizing Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land on which Heritage University now resides.

Sol Neely, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Heritage and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who helped write the statement, said the LAS is an important step in further strengthening the long-standing relationship between the Yakama Nation and Heritage University. “Establishing a protocol for delivering the Land Acknowledgement Statement elevates public awareness of both Yakama Nation histories and futures across our campus and the broader community,” said Dr. Neely. “The LAS also includes recommended short and mid-term as well as long-range actions that, when implemented, will ensure meaningful change to benefit Indigenous students.”

Some of the short and mid-term actions include: posting a plaque or framed version of the full Land Acknowledgement Statement in prominent locations on campus; starting all campus events with one of the official Land Acknowledgement Statement(s); organizing “learning circles” on Yakama culture and traditions for all faculty, staff, and administrators and require new faculty, administrators and staff to attend; inventory Ichishkiin language preservation and revitalization resources at Heritage in order to build a “Dr. Virginia Beavert Collection” at the university’s Donald North Library that contains historical, cultural and linguistic materials for educational purposes, to name a few. Long-range actions include updating American Indian Studies (AIS) A.A. and B.A. programs so that Heritage becomes an “education destination” for students across the region; recruiting and retaining an additional Indigenous faculty member to contribute to the AIS programs; investing in and sustaining support for the Heritage University Language Center (HULC).

The Indigenous-led effort to develop the LAS began during the fall 2020 semester at HU when faculty members started talking about the growing number of LAS’s being established by other universities in Canada and the U.S. As support for the Heritage LAS grew, Dr. Janis created a committee of Indigenous faculty including Winona Wynn, Ph.D., Greg Sutterlict, Ph.D. candidate and the previously mentioned Dr. Neely, as well as Yakama Nation Higher Education Program Manager Elese Washines, Ph.D. to write the LAS. Neely, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who has worked with other universities on their own LAS’s, incorporated a LAS between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nations (EBCI) and the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNC-Ashville). During the spring, the draft LAS was endorsed by the HU Board’s Tribal Relations Committee and then presented to the Yakama Nation Tribal Council this past August, where it was warmly received and lauded and called a “landmark moment.”

Dr. Sund said the LAS signing is a very important day for recognizing Heritage’s history and mission with the Yakama Nation. “We know that education has been part of the Yakama Nation since time immemorial, as tribal elders share their knowledge with their children and younger tribal members. Heritage was created to bring higher education to this land and to serve as a complement to the education systems that already exist within the Nation,” said Sund.

Plans are underway to frame and display the Land Acknowledgement Statement on campus. For more information, contact Davidson Mance at 509-969-6084 or at mance_d@heritage.edu.


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Heritage University awarded five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to expand university’s BSN program and upgrade science labs


Heritage University awarded five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to expand university’s BSN program and upgrade science labs


Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University has received a five-year, $3 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions (DHSI) branch to expand its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and make upgrades to campus science laboratories.

HU Associate Professor Melvin Simoyi, Ph.D. says an expanded BSN program will create a path that allows current working registered nurses to go back to school and earn their four-year degree in nursing. “As hospitals and other healthcare institutions start requiring their nurses to earn a bachelor’s as a condition for employment, this grant will allow Heritage to help the local community and beyond meet a dire need for healthcare professionals, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities locally and globally,” said Dr. Simoyi.

Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. is proud of the Heritage faculty that wrote such a thoughtful and comprehensive grant application. “The faculty at Heritage have worked very hard to establish a world-class BSN program at Heritage. This award by the Department of Education to expand the program validates their accomplishments. The grant will allow for a significant expansion of the program resulting in even more highly qualified nurses ready to serve the people of the Valley,” said Dr. Sund.

In addition to the RN to BSN degree pathway development, Heritage University’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) offerings will expand with new laboratories for environmental, health and physical sciences. The existing biology, chemistry and physics laboratories at Heritage will be redesigned and equipped to meet the rigorous demands for effective STEM degree programs instruction.

Dr. Simoyi says the grant will allow Heritage to continue delivering high-quality education to even more students. “Technology doesn’t stand still. Updates and improvements are always required, and we at Heritage have the desire to always keep up with the times to ensure we are delivering the best education possible to our students. We are very grateful to the Dept. of Education for its support to help us build on our successes.”

This new grant will also be used to upgrade the university’s information technology services and enable Heritage to improve institutional data collection and analysis by hiring an institutional research report writer and eventually establishing an Institutional Research Office. This project will also develop a financial literacy course with the goal of establishing the course as a General University Course Requirement (GUCR). Finally, this Title V “SHIRE-FIT” project will provide $1,000 stipends to 10 students every year to participate in research internships as work-based learning experiences.

This $3 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education which started October 1, 2021, is the second multi-million-dollar award recently announced by Heritage University. Earlier this month, Heritage received a $4.5 million grant, also from the Dept. of Education, to expand STEM studies in the Yakima Valley. For more information, contact Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.


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Heritage University receives $4.5 million grant to expand STEM studies in the Yakima Valley


Heritage University receives five-year $4.5 million grant from U.S. Dept. of Education to expand STEM studies in the Yakima Valley

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University has received a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to expand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies in the Yakima Valley. This program will employ mentors and role models for high school students interested in STEM careers and help students navigate a path for studying STEM in college, supplying the Valley with the next generation of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians. This grant will also allow Heritage to build a 4,700 square foot STEM Education Center on its Toppenish campus, complete with laboratories, learning spaces and equipment to support STEM learning programs.

Heritage president Andrew Sund, Ph.D. is proud of the faculty who made this compelling application to the Dept. of Education, and grateful for U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s ongoing efforts to support STEM Education in Washington State. “As the chair for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Senator Murray knows the importance STEM education will play in helping students remain on the cutting edge of innovation in Washington State,” said Dr. Sund. “Because of this award, more students will be able to achieve STEM degrees and fulfill the needs of employers for whom the demand for STEM graduates continues to soar.”

Sund is also thankful to the RGI Corporation of Sunnyside, Wash., the firm who collaborated with Heritage faculty to prepare the grant application. “RGI was masterful in distilling the unique role that Heritage will play in increasing STEM graduates in the valley,” said Sund.

Heritage University Natural Science Department Chair Jessica Black, Ph.D., who will serve as the principal investigator for the grant, is excited for the opportunity to be able to build the capacity to better serve Heritage’s STEM students and the community. “We will focus on empowering our students to overcome barriers that often limit access to higher education. Heritage STEM students will graduate as leaders,” said Dr. Black.

The grant period began October 1, 2021 and will run for five years. Construction of the new STEM Education Center will begin in late 2022. For more information, contact Davidson Mance at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.



Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops to celebrate graduates of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program for front-line employees


Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops to celebrate graduates of CHIEF ACADEMY management training program for front-line employees


Yakima, Wash. – Heritage University and Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) will celebrate the entire cohort of employees completing CHIEF ACADEMY, a management training program for YCH management team and front-line staff on Friday, August 13, 2021. YCH partnered with Heritage@Work, the university’s workforce training and development division to deliver the program that, when completed, earned full-time employees a Management Training certificate of completion. With four cohorts of employees receiving the training, a total of 73 YCH employees have now completed the courses and have the training, knowledge and tools to enhance their skills as managers and leaders within the company.

Heritage University faculty (full and part-time) and experts assigned by Heritage taught the workshops at the company’s headquarters in Yakima, Wash over the past year. Ryan Hopkins, chief executive officer at YCH, considers the curriculum developed by himself, Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Garcia and Heritage University to be high-quality training that benefits both employees and the company. “CHIEF ACADEMY is an ongoing investment into the people at YCH which will help grow the company and our community due to the increased skills of its employees,” said Hopkins. “This investment will empower our employees and create opportunities for their ongoing growth and success.”

CHIEF ACADEMY at YCH consisted of courses that covered five essential topics determined to be of high importance to the company. They included:

  1. Business Communication – a business writing and communication workshop which offered tips on improving existing skills as well as preparing participants for public speaking.
  2. Human Resources – a highly-interactive workshop covering the important basics of human resources with role-playing activities.
  3. Data Science – a workshop that helps those in company leadership roles understand the importance of data analytics by identifying, interpreting and summarizing data.
  4. Business Finance – a workshop to help employees understand financial drivers and strategic objectives and realize the connection between strategy and financial success.
  5. Leadership – a workshop where employees learn the attributes of a leader, the difference between management skills and leadership skills, and what it means to be a leader at YCH.

John Reeves, director of Heritage @ Work, says Yakima Chief Hops has been a tremendous partner in establishing the university’s workforce training and development division to benefit companies like YCH. “We are excited for all the YCH employees who have completed the courses, and what this will help them achieve in their professional careers.”

The ceremony celebrating the CHIEF ACADEMY graduates will be held August 13, 2021 in Smith Family Hall, located in the Arts and Sciences Center on the Heritage University campus beginning at 2:00 p.m.

For more information and to coordinate interviews, please contact David Wise, VP of Advancement and Marketing at Heritage University at (414) 788-0686 or wise_d@heritage.edu or Yakima Chief Hops Global Communications Manager Cait Schut at (916) 690-4379 or cait.schut@yakimachief.com.


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Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester


Heritage University will require students, faculty and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. announced today that all students, faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus before returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester.

Sund said the decision by Heritage administrators to require vaccinations was made after much thought, research, and analysis. “This decision follows vaccination recommendations by the Yakima County Health District, the State of Washington, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Sund. “Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are effective and safe, and failure to require vaccinations would legally and ethically constitute a direct threat to the safety of staff, faculty, and students.”

Exceptions to the vaccination requirement will be made for people who have medical conditions, religious beliefs, or extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being vaccinated.  President Sund also said reasonable accommodations would be made for people who fall into those categories. The university will collect vaccination information and proceed with enforcement of the vaccination policy.

Pandemic-era precautions, including mask-wearing inside buildings, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, will continue in the fall. “The biggest responsibility we have as an administration is to assure that we can provide a safe environment for everyone to work and study at Heritage,” said Sund.

To assist those who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, Heritage University will host a vaccination clinic that is open to students, employees and any family members that are 12 years or older living in the same household on Friday, July 9, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) will be providing the Pfizer and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The clinic will be held in the Martha B. Yallup Health Sciences Building at Heritage. Participants can choose which vaccine to receive, and those who require a second dose for full vaccination will have the opportunity to schedule that appointment with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic at any of their various locations three weeks from July 9. Heritage University will also host a second vaccination clinic on Friday, July 30, same time and location.  The July 30 clinic will be for people that need the booster (second dose) or missed the first date and would like to get the Janssen vaccine, which is a single dose.

For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.


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K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside


K-12 students encouraged to enroll for summer school during Saturday registration event in Sunnyside

Toppenish, Wash. – Lower Yakima Valley students in grades kindergarten through 12 will have the opportunity to register for summer school during the “Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at the Sunnyside Fiesta Foods. Students and their families will be greeted by representatives from the Mabton, Sunnyside and Grandview school districts who will help students enroll or receive information about their respective summer school programs.

This summer school registration event is hosted by Yakima Valley Partners for Education (YVPE) and its partners Save the Children, United Family Center, and Fiesta Foods. Suzy Diaz, the director of Collective Impact at Heritage University says summer school is a chance for children to maintain academic accomplishments year-round.  “Gaps in studying during the summer months lead to knowledge loss,” said Diaz. “By attending summer school, students can receive additional learning time, socialize with their peers, and take part in experiential activities.”

During the fair, Save the Children and United Family Center will enroll kids in the “100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge,” and Fiesta Foods will launch their “Reading Is Growing” reading program. Kids who take on the challenge can earn prizes throughout the summer.

“Community Fair for Summer Enrollment” will be held on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the #7 parking lot of Sunnyside Fiesta Foods located at 2010 Yakima Valley Highway in Sunnyside, Wash. Students will have the opportunity to register for, or obtain more information on the following summer programs:

Sunnyside: Ignite Summer School Program June 28-July 22
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Grandview: SPARK Summer School Program June 23-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (elementary) and 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (middle and high school).

Mabton: K-12 Summer Program June 21-July 29
Class schedule: M-Th 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Families are asked to check directly with the district for openings.

For more information, contact Suzy Diaz at (509) 480-9354 or Diaz_S@heritage.edu or Micaela Araguz at (509) 975-0046 or Micaela@fiesta-foods.com.


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Heritage University announces return to full in-person instruction for fall 2021 semester


Heritage University announces return to full in-person instruction for fall 2021 semester

Toppenish, Wash. – Heritage University has announced plans to return to full in-person instruction for the upcoming fall 2021 semester. The plan takes into account the progress Yakima County has made towards preventing the spread of Covid-19 and the increasing number of vaccinated residents in the county. “These trends have boosted our confidence that we can fully reopen campus in time for fall,” said Heritage University President Andrew Sund, Ph.D. “We will continue to rely on the Yakima County Health District, as well as State and Federal authorities, to ensure our plans are consistent with their guidance regarding current Covid-19 protocols.”

Sund applauded the efforts by Heritage University’s employees to support student learning in the face of the challenges created by the pandemic. “I am proud of how our faculty and staff rallied to provide a safe and quality educational experience for the students who chose to learn on campus, while also delivering the tools necessary to students who chose to attend classes remotely,” said Sund.

The Heritage University campus has been partially open since the fall 2020 semester to accommodate students who do not have the conditions in their homes to conduct significant academic work. In being present on campus, students have access to reliable high-speed Internet and plenty of space for studying. A full reopening will allow students to develop camaraderie with other students and interact with faculty and staff. “We are anxious to re-establish our sense of community at Heritage,” said Sund. “The majority of students that choose Heritage University to fulfill their higher education do so because they believe in the value that participating in a campus environment brings.”

For the fall 2021 semester at Heritage University, graduate classes will begin August 2, 2021, and undergraduate classes will begin August 23, 2021. For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.

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Heritage University EAGLES scholars selected for prestigious internships nationwide. Application for the coming year’s scholarships close May 3.


Heritage University EAGLES scholars selected for prestigious internships nationwide.  Application for the coming year’s scholarships close May 3.  

Toppenish, Wash. – Recipients of the EAGLES STEM scholarship program at Heritage University have accepted summer internships at prestigious institutions nationwide.

Each year twenty EAGLES scholars not only receive a full-tuition scholarship but also can apply for prestigious internships, research experiences and enhanced learning opportunities through annual career panels at both Heritage and Portland State University. Applications for the EAGLES Scholarship are now being accepted: the deadline to apply is Monday, May 3, 2021.  The application and complete scholarship details can be found at heritage.edu/eagles.

The EAGLES Scholarship program is funded through a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) received by Heritage University and Portland State University (PSU) and supports students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as well as environmental science, biology and computer science at Heritage and PSU. The scholarship will ultimately be awarded to at least 116 students at Heritage and PSU over the next three years.

Last fall, twenty students joined the EAGLES Scholarship program at Heritage, an initiative to increase enrollment and retention of low-income and under-represented groups in the STEM fields, among others. Heritage Associate Professor Alexander Alexiades, Ph.D. is pleased how this first cohort of EAGLES scholars has embraced the opportunities the scholarship has created for them. “We are very proud of every one of our students, especially those who have shown their potential by earning a lucrative summer internship. It’s a testament to their hard work, and to the EAGLES program, which put these talented students on the path to their current success.”

Alexiades further explained that the opportunities associated with this scholarship can be life-changing. “Earning your college degree is always a significant achievement and opens doors to so much in life. And when you can have your tuition fully paid by a scholarship and complete internships at some of the most prestigious research universities in the country it will open doors not only of opportunity but of possibility.  Once completed, graduates could go anywhere and do anything they have their hearts set on. Every student in the valley intent on earning a STEM degree should be applying for this scholarship.”

The Heritage EAGLES scholars who have secured summer internships so far include:

Angeles Marin, a biology major, will participate in two summer programs. The first is with the Heritage University and Pacific Northwest Partnerships National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (HU PNW NSF REU) under Heritage Associate Professor Dr. Robert Kao, for which Marin will receive a $6,000 stipend. Her research will focus on cell biology and phenotypic analysis of Tetrahymena thermophila. For the second program, she will attend the 6-week Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) at the University of Washington. The UW SHPEP encourages scholars to consider, from the cellular to the global level, factors that influence health. Marin will receive a $1,200 stipend for participating in this program.

Colton Maybee, a computer science major, will spend this summer on an internship with Portland State University’s Teuscher Lab, where he will work on a project titled “Computational Modeling Serving the City.” This internship includes two weeks of training in computational modeling, followed by eight weeks of online research overseen by a mentor. Maybee will earn a $6,000 stipend from this internship.

Gustavo Mendez-Soto, an environmental science major, will participate in a Washington State University research program titled “Stakeholder-Informed Innovations in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus.” Students in this program will develop complex systems thinking and system dynamics simulation skills, work with data wrangling workshops, and engage in professional development and team-based exercises through shared activities. Mendez-Soto will receive a $5,400 stipend for this nine-week program.

Anna Diaz, a mathematics major, has been accepted into the Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) at Brown University in Providence, R.I. and will work with Dr. George Karniadakas, who is leading a team to develop cost-effective methods to monitor and forecast ocean acidification using mathematics, physics and machine learning. The program includes activities directed by her faculty mentor, participation in weekly meetings, and a variety of professional development activities sponsored by the Leadership Alliance and the Brown community. Diaz will also attend the Leadership Alliance National Symposium (virtual in 2021) and present her research to faculty and peers. The nine-week program comes with a $4,500 stipend.

Anthony Brooks, a biology major, will support Portland State University’s Department of Environmental Science and Management with a project titled “Determining salt marsh restoration success using focus groups of managers and the public, and past data.” Brooks will receive a $4,300 stipend for this eight-week internship.

Mayra Diaz-Acevedo, a mathematics major, will join the Numerical Analysis research group for the 2021 Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Diaz-Acevedo will receive travel and living expenses as well as a $4,000 stipend for this eight-week internship.

Andrea Mendoza, a biology major, will perform fruit tree pest research with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Moxee, Wash. working with Dr. Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, research entomologist.

For more information on the EAGLES Scholarship, please contact Julie Conley, EAGLES project coordinator at (509) 654-0297 or conley_j@heritage.edu. To schedule an interview with Alex Alexiades, please contact Davidson Mance, Heritage University media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu.


EAGLES Scholars top left to right: Anthony Brooks, Anna Diaz, Mayra Diaz-Acevedo, Angeles Marin. Bottom left to right: Colton Maybee, Gustavo Mendez-Soto, and Andrea Mendoza

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