Jose Morales Diaz
April 23, 2019
As a first-time attendee, I was very thrilled to attend my first-ever Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community (LKC) Institute. The theme for this year, Testimonios of an Intersectional Latinx Community, enhanced my knowledge of current trends/issues affecting the Latinx community in higher education, including mental health, language, religious/spirituality, and gender identity. The pre-conference also focused on engaging with field experts, currently infusing scholarship and creating initiatives to support and foster Latinx student, staff, and self-development in our respective institutions of higher education.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton from University of California, Irvine was very inspirational in her presentation, “Latinx Centered Leadership: Exploring our Roots in Community Resilience & Resistance.” Her talk focused on state of the profession for Latinx members. She shared her narrative regarding community activism, and scholarship. Furthermore, I also really enjoyed the panel on exploring gender: beyond the binary featuring Antonio Duran, Chris Sanchez, and Sydney Torres – all amazing student affairs professionals in various roles supporting their Latinx community. The panel on “Connecting with our Community” was one of my major highlights, since I learned more about individuals in the field who were passionate about topics that personally interested me, including undocumented student support services (featuring Diana Valdivia), supporting foster youth (featuring Jeze Lopes), and transfer students and parent programming (featuring Lorena Marquez). I especially enjoyed interacting and networking with other individuals from the Latinx/a/o higher education community, including with members of the Community College Scholarship present at this pre-conference. I also had the honor of attending the 2019 Mena/Valdez Awards Ceremony where I was recognized as a scholarship recipient for the Alex Gonzalez Scholarship.
In closing, I would like to extend my warmest appreciation to the Alex Gonzalez Scholarship Committee, and the Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community at large for allowing me to attend this pre-conference and meet! I highly recommend this conference for anyone interested in deepening our understanding of issues affecting the Latinx community for student affairs professionals in higher education. I especially enjoyed discussing my own intersectional identities as it relates to the work I contribute as a second-year master’s graduate student in a student affairs program at the University of Utah. I walked away with a higher consciousness of my participation as a member of the LKC in NASPA. I hope to bring back what I learned to my own personal development and scholarly-practice as I continue to support Latinx students at my home institution in Utah.
José E. Morales Díaz
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