Latino Scientists program celebrates big year

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Daniel Horns, assistant dean of the UVU College of Health and Sciences, right, and Yudi Lewis, director of the Latino Initiative, left, speak to high schoolers at the 2015 Latino Scientists of Tomorrow banquet.

Robby Poffenberger | Assistant News Editor | @robby_poff

Photo credit: Julie Ostler | Assistant Photo Editor | @jules1lo


The Latino Scientists of Tomorrow hosted their annual banquet in the Grande Ballroom on Aug. 4, capping off what the program’s adviser said is the program’s biggest year yet.

As the formally dressed young students and their parents were served dinner, a slideshow of photos from the events of the 2014-15 school year were shown on a projector screen. On the north side of the ballroom, posters were displayed from a Biotechnology class project where students were required to conceive a product that helps correct a problem of human health–one a student’s pitch for better headphones, while another the conception of a gummy candy that helps slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Latino Scientists of Tomorrow is a group of Latino high school students–typically seniors–who are interested in pursuing degrees in science. Yudi Lewis, the program director for the Latino Initiative at UVU, recruits potential students from local high schools and provides them with an opportunity to take college courses, attend field trips and receive college success training.

Daniel Horns, Assistant Dean of the UVU College of Health and Sciences and adviser for the program, said he made the program bigger this year because there were too many impressive applications to keep it at 24 as they’ve done in recent years.

“This year the pool of applications was so strong I increased the program up to 30 students,” said Horns.

The result, according to Horns, was perhaps the most enthusiastic group the program had seen since its inception.

“This group was far more engaged in their classes than any group we’d seen,” said Horns. “And almost every student came to almost every career exploration trip–that didn’t happen before. They were engaged and asked lots of questions.”

According to the school’s own figures, about 10 percent of UVU students identify themselves as Latino–less than the percentage of Utahns who are Latino, which sits at 13 percent, according to the latest census data.

For more information on the Latino Scientists of Tomorrow program, visit