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Staff Spotlight

Dr. Jacqueline B. Rojas
BA Biology and Spanish, SUNY Brockport
MSED Instructional Technology, USC
PhD Science Education, Curtin University, Australia

Hello! My name is Jackie. The AISS Scholars address me as “Dr. Rojas” due to my PhD in Science
Education and my position as their Advanced Writing Instructor.
My Spanish proficiency comes from six years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru and Chile in the 1970s.
My Chilean husband René (RIP) and I raised two bilingual sons who are proud of their dual nationality.
Our younger son Salvador is an AISS Program Instructor/Advisor. I enjoy speaking Spanish to get to know the parents and families of our scholars and follow them as alumni and contributors to their

My volunteer work with AISS since 2011 aligns with the third goal of the Peace Corps, “to bring the
world back home.” As AISS Foundation Board Vice Chair, I enthusiastically promote our upcoming
expansion. Through grant applications and networking, I advocate passionately for financial support
from individuals, corporations, and foundations. As Program Committee Chair, through intensive
teamwork with our staff, board members, and partners, I influence the codification of our curriculum to
implement parallel cohorts starting in 2024.

My contributions to the enhancement of our program emerged from developing unique partnerships
with other nonprofit organizations. As a Board Member of the ARCS Foundation, I sponsor AISS Scholars
to attend STEM research presentations by ARCS Scholars, PhD Candidates in the STEM fields at UCI. With their blue monogramed AISS jackets and distinctive trading cards, our high school Scholars impress
Deans and Faculty, business leaders and entrepreneurs with their networking skills.

I engaged ARCS Alumna Stephanie Hachey in the evaluation of the social enterprise pitches by our Class
of 2023 Scholar Teams for the AISS Shark Style event. Dr. Hachey returned to judge that competition in
November of 2022. ARCS Alumnus Sumner Norman, preeminent Brain Computer Interface researcher at
Caltech, functioned as interviewee for current AISS Scholar Said Garcia as a reference on his STEM
Research Paper in the summer of 2021. How exciting that Said recently earned a full ride to Caltech, his
dream school, where he may eventually participate in research projects with Dr. Norman!
After researching the work of College Essay Guy Ethan Sawyer and taking several counselor courses
online, I advanced a partnership through Erika Coplon. Our Scholars benefitted from quarterly
workshops presented by the CEG team. Even more valuable, our 25 scholars received 10 hours of no
cost online support on their college essays from 1:1 Matchlighters Mentors.

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