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Hurtado and Utin Honored as ′30 Under 30' in Education by Forbes

November 21, 2017

Ricky Hurtado and Elaine Townsend Utin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been named as Forbes “30 Under 30 Education” honorees for 2018. Honorees are recognized primarily for using innovative methods to open up access to quality education to new and often underserved groups. Hurtado and Utin are co-executive directors of the NC Scholar’s Latinx Initiative (N.C. Sli), a project of the Center for Global Initiatives.

N.C. Sli’s mission is to broaden the spectrum of paths and opportunities for Latinx students, including in educational, leadership and civic engagement fields. The initiative serves to make North Carolina a more welcoming and equal environment for its growing immigrant population by investing in the next generation of Latinx leaders.

One of N.C. Sli’s most successful programs prepares Latinx high school students for a college education and works to develop leadership skills beginning in the students’ sophomore year. The High School Scholars Program encourages students to engage with their culture and interests in order to find their path forward when making the jump to post-secondary education, as well as being rigorously prepared for the college application process. Participants receive mentorship from current college students, resources that link them with financial aid and scholarships, and other resources that allow them to develop professional and leadership skills.

Hurtado and Utin, both first generation college graduates and UNC alumni, have spent their careers working to expand educational opportunities to first generation college students and especially to those coming from immigrant families. Both previously worked with nonprofits that provided opportunities, especially in education, to low-income communities and communities of color before coming to N.C. Sli.

Hurtado and Utin’s tenure as co-executive directors of N.C. Sli has been a great success, with 100 percent of N.C. Sli scholars graduating high school and 90 percent continuing on to college. The White House has recognized the program as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education for its work.

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