July 6, 2023

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino has announced that its Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) is placing interns at Smithsonian-affiliated museums in El Paso, Texas; McAllen, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Springfield, Massachusetts, to build on the Smithsonian’s commitment to reach rural and underrepresented communities. The national program for graduating high school seniors is supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, and it will foster the next generation of community-conscious Latino leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities.

“We appreciate that Ford Motor Company Fund has continued to support YAP over the years because these bright, young leaders teach us as much as we teach them,” said Museum Director Jorge Zamanillo. “We look forward to learning from this year’s cohort and can’t wait to see the differences they make in their communities.”

The five-week program kicked off June 25 with a week-long seminar at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. During their stay, students visited the Institution’s Latino collections and engaged with curators, collections managers and various experts from museum fields for a behind-the-scenes look at museum operations. This year’s program highlighted the importance of equity in technology with the growing use of artificial intelligence, collections stewardship and conservation, and equity in design, architecture and urban planning. Recordings of the livestreamed events Re(Presente): Contemporary Latino Communities in the Media and What’s Next in STEM! will be available on the museum’s YouTube channel.

Following their week in Washington, students spend the remainder of the program in internships at Smithsonian-affiliated organizations in 17 cities across the contiguous U.S. and Puerto Rico.

After completing the Young Ambassadors Program, participants join the YAP Alumni Network, which aims to transform high school graduates into college-educated professionals poised for success and community-centered leadership. The network offers alumni continuing education, professional development opportunities and community engagement activities.

Ford is proud to give students an opportunity to use and develop their leadership skills and knowledge through the Young Ambassadors Program,” said Yisel Cabrera, senior manager, Economic Mobility, Ford Motor Company Fund. “It is gratifying to play a role in helping talented young Latinos achieve their dreams.” 

About the National Museum of the American Latino

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American was established by Congress in 2020 to advance the representation, understanding and appreciation of Latino history and culture in the United States. The museum operates the Smithsonian’s first exhibition space dedicated to the Latino experience, the Molina Family Latino Gallery, at the National Museum of American History. The American Latino Museum also expands scholarly research, public programs, digital content, collections and more. Connect with the museum at latino.si.edu and follow @USLatinoMuseum on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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