Holly serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for the NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Project. MUST supports the success of STEM students from underserved and underrepresented populations by providing them with financial assistance, mentorship, professional development training, and a NASA internship. She led the design and development of this initiative to promote college retention and workforce readiness. Rigorous project evaluations show that MUST is making a tremendous impact on student GPA, graduation rates, and conversion into graduate school and professional careers.
Prior to joining the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Holly worked for the Hispanic College Fund where she developed their federal programs division. Beginning with MUST, Holly used data to uncover student needs and ensure their success by developing appropriate social and academic support systems. By tracking and demonstrating results, MUST gained recognition and Holly wrote and won two additional federal grants: The NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI), and the National Nuclear Security Administration Leadership Project.
Holly began her career in Central America where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua and worked with a Guatemalan nonprofit. There, she focused her efforts on helping women’s groups to develop small businesses and managed various projects to build infrastructure and capacity in rural communities. Holly graduated with a Bachelor of Science in international business from Minnesota State University in 2004 and a Master of Arts in economic development and management from The Catholic University of America in 2013. Holly is a recipient of the Marjorie Cook Award for women’s advocacy, an academic researcher on a Fulbright Project in Guatemala, and a six-year mentor with the Big Brother/Big Sister program.
Access to quality education and workforce readiness is all too often shaped by where we are born. HSFI works to equalize opportunity and provide encouragement to underserved students across the nation. My motivation is to ensure that all youth are empowered through education to build a prosperous society for themselves and their families.