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Summit helps connect Latino teens in Oregon with education and future career opportunities

This is the fifth year for the "Mente Summit," held at Linfield University in McMinnville.

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — Hundreds of Latino high school boys from across Oregon spent the day on the Linfield University campus on Friday for a summit connecting with professionals from different fields.  

This was the fifth year for the Mente Summit, organized by the nonprofit Mente. The nonprofit's mission is to promote higher education for Latino men. 

The summit featured 20 workshops taught by Latino professionals representing different fields such as public safety, education and nursing, as well as workshops specific to culture. 

Ivan Galicia attended the summit two years ago and is now a sophomore at Linfield in McMinnville. He also received a scholarship during the event.

"We don't always get to see representation in these higher positions, so coming to this conference, I really got to see a lot of different professionals," Galicia said. 

Gerado Ochoa is the associate vice president of Linfield as well as the president of Mente.

"We know there's disinvestments in communities across the country where they are funneling more money into criminal justice than education, so we are talking about structural changes that exist," Ochoa said. 

The success of the summit can be measured by past attendees. David Trujillo-Bedolla attended the first one five years ago, now he's a student at Portland State University studying Political Science.

"I was exposed to universities like PSU and Linfield," Bedolla said. "I was also exposed to professionals from a similar background and it got me thinking and made me see myself in that place."

At the end of the summit, 20 students are awarded with $1,000 scholarships. Mente would like to extend the conference to more than one day and are looking for more sponsors who can help. 

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