By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY — Vineland’s Sebastian Mercado and Jaiden Espino from Rowan University in Glassboro are two winners of the New Jersey Hispanic Leadership Association 2023 Student Scholars.

The scholars will be recognized at the upcoming Hispanic Leadership Association of New Jersey 10th Anniversary Gala set for the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Oct. 28.

Highlighting the great culture and leadership in South Jersey’s Hispanic community.

Mercado, the son of Capt. Carlos Mercado with the Vineland Fire Department, was a high school honors student and is now attending the New Jersey Institute of Technology majoring in mechanical engineering. Mercado and his brother Dominic were named 30 Under 35 Top Young Latinos of South Jersey by Front Runner New in 2022.

Espino, of Rowan, is majoring in psychology. Other Hispanic Leadership Association scholarship winner include Orlando Franqui of Rutgers University School of Law and Joshua Gonzalez-Alegria, of the Rutgers University Business School.

The keynote speaker for the gala will be trailblazing retired Atlantic County Judge Julio Mendez. The association said it will also be honoring 14 individuals at the event as well as the scholarship winners.


Mendez, a longtime champion of equality and diversity, retired last year after serving in the New Jersey judicial system for more than 20 years. A native of Cub who lived in Spain before moving to the United States.

Those wishing to attend the event can go to:

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