Inspiring young leaders isn’t an easy feat. The National Hispanic Institute (NHI), a leadership program, which serves more than 3,000 students across the nation each year, serves as a model to grow and shape young leaders to succeed in school and develop their mark on the world as adults. Unfortunately, limited finances and other barriers can put enrichment programs like the NHI out of reach for many students. As a part of its 50th year anniversary celebration, Jefferson Dental Care is deepening its commitment to the Hispanic community through the launch of a scholarship program to pay half of the cost of NHI program fees for eligible students that apply on-site at one of its 53 dental offices.

“We recognize that accessibility and affordability can severely limit a student’s opportunity to participate in a program such as NHI,” says Marta Velasco, VP of Marketing for Jefferson Dental. “This is the next generation, and we reecho our mission to be a pillar in our community for the next 50 years, by supporting rising leaders in the neighborhoods we serve.”

Jefferson Dental is hoping to dissolve barriers by creating mini-application sites where students can receive more information about NHI programs, as well as fill out and turn in applications at any of the 53 Jefferson Dental offices. Students who are accepted are then eligible to receive the Jefferson Dental scholarship, which pays half of the tuition for the program.

“Supporting programs that help young people thrive creates a legacy of well-rounded, well-educated and conscientious young adults,” says Velasco. “Our neighbors have supported us for the last 50 years, they are our legacy, and this is one way we can give back as a thank you.”

NHI programs have a track record of success. More than 3,000 students are admitted to NHI programs every year. Of those, 98% of NHI alumni attend college, 90% graduate in 4 to 5 years, and 67% continue into advanced graduate studies. Moreover, NHI students receive mentorship, networking and the chance to step into leadership roles.

“The program helped me find my voice, in the sense that; we should understand that our opinions matter regardless of who we are or where we came for. It helped me become more responsible because others were looking up to me,” says Andrea Hernandez, NHI alumna and 3rd year engineering student at Texas Tech University.

Andrea joined NHI as a 9th grade student, and across 4 years of high school she rounded off her senior year as a team leader organizing younger student groups.

“The application process is easy, students can apply at the front desk of any of our dental offices and we send the paperwork from there,” says Velasco.

The NHI is a highly-competitive program with limited spots. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher. The Jefferson Dental scholarship is available for students who apply at the front desk of any Jefferson Dental location. For more information on Jefferson Dental locations, how to apply and program deadlines, visit

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