Norma Vega currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Scholarships and Programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund in Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute (HSFI) in Washington, DC. She oversees all operations and management of scholarship processing, implementation of outreach, scholar support services, and leadership development and federal grants/STEM programs (HSFI).
Prior to joining HSF, Norma worked in Washington, DC as a Senior Advocacy Consultant at the Ibarra Strategy Group – a government and public affairs firm where she handled intergovernmental support, external communications, Latino outreach, and political affairs.
Before moving to DC, Norma served as Executive Director of the Office of the Census 2010 in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In this capacity, she developed a citywide educational and community outreach campaign that resulted in the highest mail participation rate of any other comparable city and thus ensured that California did not lose a congressional seat, as originally predicted. Previously, she worked in the Mayor’s office as Area Director, serving as liaison to the community, civic groups, and city departments.
Ms. Vega began her career at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) as a paralegal. Later as the Belmont Parent School Partnership Director, she organized parents to ensure the construction of the Ed Roybal Learning Center and the Vista Hermosa Park (the first new public park to have been built in downtown LA, since 1895). She then served as a national trainer where she partnered with parent groups, teachers, school district administrators, and community stakeholders to implement effective parent engagement strategies. At the same time, she worked with parents locally to develop and execute a successful grass-roots legal campaign and organized a coalition of community stakeholders. This resulted in the savings of $95 million and the construction of the three schools at the former Ambassador Hotel site – the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.
Norma is a passionate and motivated community leader who has dedicated her career to advocating and organizing for social justice issues and enhancing the quality of life for under-served communities. She was recently appointed to serve on the inaugural board of trustees of the American Latino Heritage Fund – a fund of the National Park Foundation established by U. S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. She also serves on the board for the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory and supports several non-profits and advocacy campaigns. She was awarded an American Marshall Memorial Fellowship and traveled to Europe on a trans-Atlantic exchange of emerging leaders. Additionally, she has participated in visitation programs to South Korea and Mexico. Ms. Vega graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles.
I have been a champion for educational equity because I believe it is the civil rights issue of our time. Access to a quality education is a right not a privilege. And, I’m one of those fortunate people who gets paid to do what I love because there was a civil rights movement that ensured the doors to our universities were open. I now get to pay it forward. Si Se Puede!!