ExxonMobil and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation named Cynthia Reyna, a graduating student of Charles H. Milby High School in Houston, Texas, as the national winner of the 2008 Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards in Engineering and Mathematics, an award sponsored by ExxonMobil.
Reyna was honored for her outstanding accomplishments in engineering and mathematics during a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo. ExxonMobil said she was chosen for her many achievements in engineering and mathematics as well as her academic excellence and commitment to the community.
In addition to a $3,000 scholarship she received as a regional winner, Reyna was given a $5,000 educational grant, laptop computer and a trip to the National Youth Award presentation in Kansas City, Mo.
In October, she travels to the annual Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. She said she’ll use the educational grants to study at Texas A&M University as a civil engineering major.
ExxonMobil has sponsored the Engineering and Mathematics category for eight years and has contributed more than $1.2 million to HHYA. In addition to the educational grant Reyna receives as the national winner, Exxon is also providing an additional $15,000 grant so the Hispanic Heritage Foundation can support Reyna’s educational costs at Texas A&M.
“ExxonMobil is proud to align its efforts with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to promote young Hispanics to succeed in the science and engineering fields,” said Gerald McElvy, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “Not only do we feel this is a critical concern, but it is also an honor to be a part of such a unique program that celebrates both culture and academics.”
Of Mexican descent, Reyna is an AP Scholar with Honors, High Honor Roll Student, a two-time Science Fair first-place winner and a second-place recipient in the Science Bowl Competition.
She also received the United Space Alliance/MAES Pre-engineering Scholarship. She is active in her community and helps residents complete paperwork at the U.S. Citizenship Workshop, and has volunteered numerous hours in the Raul Yzaguirre School for Success’ technology department. Last summer, she formed part of the Houston A+ Summer Internship program for the Baylor College of Medicine, where she was able to conduct scientific research on cisplatin-induced toxicities.. She served as an intern for the Institute of Orthopedic Research at the Methodist center and is also a USA/MAES scholar, recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa and the Jesse H. Jones Scholarship.
“I’m thrilled and honored to receive this prestigious award from ExxonMobil and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation,” Reyna said. “My Mexican heritage is a source of pride, strength and motivation to succeed. I attribute all my determination and success to my family.”
The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards (HHYA) were created in 1998 to identify and promote the next generation of role models by celebrating their accomplishments in the classroom and community. Now in its eleventh year, this national leadership program annually provides more than 200 students with $650,000 in educational grants in 12 regions.