two students laughing with their arms on each others shoulders


PODEMOS is a two-semester initiative for first-year Hispanic-Latinx students at UF that consists of an academic success program in the fall semester (Latino Educational Advancement Program, LEAP) and a professionalization program in the spring semester (Professional Opportunities and Diverse Experiences Resource, PODER). Through our bi-weekly seminars, we empower our Emerging Scholars with information regarding the various academic, professionalization, and research resources available to them at and outside UF. We also equip our scholars with the organizational skills needed to balance their academic and burgeoning career-related workloads. PODEMOS concludes with a graduation ceremony at the end of the spring semester to celebrate the scholars who have completed the program and will be moving on to conquer whatever may lie ahead at and beyond UF.

Although this program may target first-year Hispanic/Latinx students through distinctive cultural and linguistic elements, we welcome all first-year students (including first-year transfer students) with open arms because we understand the difficulties that many students face when transitioning to college and moving away from home.


The purpose of PODEMOS is to provide first-year Hispanic-Latinx students with the tools and resources needed to not only academically thrive at UF, but to also successfully apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world work experiences. In addition to helping students academically and professionally thrive a UF, we aim to expose our scholars to the extensive Hispanic-Latinx community here in Gainesville, so they can access the support and guidance needed throughout their college careers. Most importantly, the PODEMOS team and everyone here at HLA is excited to help make UF your home away from home.


The Office of Hispanic-Latinx Student Engagement aims to empower the Hispanic-Latinx community through advocacy, cultural education, and of course, student development. We not only want to see more Hispanic/Latinx students at UF, but we also want to see our students graduate and be prepared to competitively enter the workforce. By creating and utilizing initiatives such as PODEMOS, we hope to increase Hispanic-Latinx enrollment/graduation rates at UF and assure our scholars’ post-collegiate success.


For this program, we want to foster a sense of community and unity among our Hispanic-Latinx student body. To do so, we pair our PODEMOS Scholars with Lead and Associate Mentors in groups of two to three. Since we require our Associate Mentors to be rising sophomores (or first-year transfer students) and our Lead Mentors to be juniors, seniors, or graduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA, our mentors provide guidance and advice from their own first-hand experiences, while leading by example through their outstanding academic performance and professional experience. PODEMOS mentors help conduct activities during our weekly workshops and are available to Scholars outside of these scheduled meeting times.


Every PODEMOS seminar revolves around a topic related to academics, research, and/or professionalization resources/skills. Some of the topics that we may touch upon include:

  •  Hispanic/Latinx inclusion in higher education
  • Well-being in the academic environment
  • Learning styles and study tips
  • Organization and time management
  • Majors, Minors, and certificate programs
  • Scholarship and fellowship opportunities
  • Research and internship opportunities
  • Service-learning and study abroad opportunities
  • Libraries and on-campus resources
  • Cover letters and personal statements
  • CV and resume writing
  • Interview tips/mock interviews

Each seminar lasts approximately one hour and includes either a special guest speaker who discusses the bi-weekly topic, a small-group activity led by a mentor, or a visit to an office on campus that relates to the topic. By organizing our seminars in this way, we hope to foster an exciting and interactive learning environment that will keep students engaged throughout the seminar.