When you were a child, chances are that you dreamed bigger dreams than seemed possible to everyone except you. You daydreamed for hours, planning and learning and imagining and then the time comes for you to spread your wings. You work harder and harder every day and then, in a moment that takes your breath away, you are given the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s the moment we all work for, and perhaps no one knows it better than Jose Hernandez, the son of a migrant worker who achieved his dream when he became an astronaut. With his dream fulfilled, Hernandez wants to inspire a whole new generation to make their dreams come true. The Reaching For The Stars Foundation is a non-profit that works with children in the educational system to help them thrive in the STEM programs, science, technology, engineering and math, despite any preconceived notions of a disadvantage.
The foundation was inspired by Hernandez’s childhood hero, Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Hispanic-American chosen to be a part of a shuttle mission. Hernandez’s father insisted that if he wanted to be like his idol, he would ‘have to work hard and pay his dues’. In that aspect, Hernandez worked hard in school and eventually became just like his inspiration, but he didn’t want to stop there. Hernandez carries out his desire to give back to the community and to help children reach their educational and professional goals through the foundation by awarding scholarships and by hosting an annual science conference to inspire more young people to pursue careers in the sciences, as well as to find connections with other charities and non-profits that are focused on helping children. Every year, the conference hosts 500 5th graders in the San Joaquin County in California and has helped them to pursue their educational goals.
In 2008, the foundation was able to award its first scholarship to a college bound student and has since awarded many others to local, driven young men and women who are pursuing a career in the STEM programs. One of the benefits of Hernandez’s focus is that more and more American companies are growing concerned about the lacking numbers of employees coming from the STEM programs. This means that the youth participating with the foundation have an even better chance at finding a good professional life once they leave school and enter the work force.
Hernandez was inspired to reach for the stars as a child and now his foundation can inspire countless other children to reach even farther and make their dreams come true.
involved in most facets of the financial markets, from equity research to Investment Banking & Corporate Finance, which included an association with KPMG Corporate Finance in India and the Middle East.