WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today will host their 12th Annual National Youth Awards Ceremony in honor of actress America Ferrera and seven National Youth Awardees including Odalmy Molina from Hialeah, F.L. for Science sponsored by AstraZeneca and Amgen for outstanding accomplishments in the classroom and their community. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in front of an audience of 200 community and business leaders, elected officials, educational leaders, celebrities, students and families.
"The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is genuinely united in empowering youth to view their heritage from a different perspective and supports youth in living out their dreams," stated Odalmy Molina, student at Hialeah High School, Hialeah, F.L. "I cannot express in words the deep gratitude I have for AstraZeneca, Amgen, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for allowing me to finance my education. I view this award as my first stepping stone to aiding the Latino community in the near future."
As one of the seven students being recognized, Odalmy Molina asserts that her father's death and her brother's diagnoses of Leukemia have altered her life and ultimately sparked within her a deep desire to one day find a cure for cancer. On a constant quest for knowledge, she has conducted research at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and at MIT's competitive Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science Program (MITES). At her young age, Odalmy has already co-published original research on analgesic peptide gene transfer; and is now working on her second co-publication for April 2011. Dedicated to service, she is the youth co-chair for the American Cancer Society and was chosen as the youth representative from South Florida to lobby in Tallahassee to raise the tobacco tax. She is currently revitalizing Relay for Life team "Teens against Cancer" as well as organizing this year's Purple Hope Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk at her school. In the classroom, she is just as impressive. Boasting a perfect 4.0 GPA, she is ranked within the top 1% in her class, has taken an astonishing 20 AP courses and is part of the Health Science Academy to receive her certification as an assistant nurse. Her academic excellence has earned her significant recognitions such as the National AP Scholar Award and the National Hispanic Recognition Scholar Award. In her own words, Odalmy, who is of Cuban descent, "envisions Hispanics as millions of great neurons, unified in a single brain, capable of unraveling all its potential across different fields." Odalmy is currently considering offers from Brown University and MIT where she plans to major in Human Biology and History of Ancient Civilization before pursuing her Medical degree.
"AstraZeneca commends the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards for its commitment to encouraging and rewarding distinguished Hispanic students for their outstanding efforts in the classroom and their community," Dr. Marta Illueca, Executive Director, Clinical Development, AstraZeneca stated. "AstraZeneca is extremely proud to support young Hispanic leaders like Odalmy in pursuing their dreams in the area of scientific investigations and look forward to seeing her succeed as she continues to provide valuable contributions to medical research."
"I am very proud of the achievements Odalmy Molina has been able to make throughout her scholastic career. It is commendable that Ms. Molina has made it a personal goal of finding a cure for cancer so that other families do not have to suffer the same tragedies as her family has. She also serves as a role model to all other students from all nationalities, races, and creed by showing that they too can make a positive difference in the communities they live in," stated State Senator Rene Garcia from Hialeah, F.L.
In addition to Molina, the other National Youth Awards recipients include:
- Anthony Mendoza, Antelope, C.A., for Business sponsored by BBVA Compass
- Catarina Lopez, Killeen, TX, for Community Service sponsored by Southwest Airlines
- Melissa Fich, Milburn, N.J., for Education sponsored by Target
- Jose Antonio Villanueva, Los Altos, C.A. for Engineering and Mathematics sponsored by ExxonMobil
- Luis Ortiz, Sandy Spring, M.D., for Leadership sponsored by US Army
- Alberto Rodriguez, Laredo, T.X,, for Technology sponsored by AT&T
After receiving the awards, the students will get experience in the HHF's leadership cycle that includes a Speakers' Bureau, Mi Mentors group to inspire and guide younger Latinos, leadership training through LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Institute, and into the LOFT program that provides workforce development with a path in various industries.
America Ferrera, the star of "Ugly Betty" and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," will be honored with the Inspira Award for serving as a role model for Latino youth through the media. Ferrera currently serves as an Artist Ambassador for the global humanitarian organization Save the Children, with a focus on championing education for children in marginalized communities, both in the United States and in developing countries.
The Inspira Award was created to recognize Latinos in public life who have used their platform to serve as role models for youth and to promote cultural pride. America Ferrera joins actors Wilmer Valderrama, Adam Rodriguez and singer Don Omar as recent honorees of the Inspira Award.
"We are thrilled to honor another class of outstanding young Latino leaders who will certainly make an impact on academics, communities and the workforce as they move forward in their careers," said Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. "We applaud AstraZeneca and Amgen for its vision in not only honoring the young leaders but providing them with ongoing support ensuring the top talent we have to offer is entering the key fields to meeting America's priorities."
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a national nonprofit organization which inspires, identifies, prepares and positions Latino leaders for classroom, community and workforce. For more information, please visit www.HispanicHeritage.org. The Youth Awards were created by HHF in 1998 as a national leadership program to identify, inspire, prepare and position Latino high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom and community in various categories. HHF and sponsors honors hundreds of Latino students across America including hosting regional ceremonies with partner universities in San Jose/San Francisco-Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Austin/San Antonio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Miami, Washington, DC, and New York/Philadelphia/New Jersey.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines. As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of $32.8 billion in 2009. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $14.8 billion healthcare business.
For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or our AZ&Me™ Prescription Savings programs, please visit: www.astrazeneca-us.com or call 1-800-AZandMe (292-6363).
SOURCE Hispanic Heritage Foundation