April 5-7, 2017
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is increasing its capacity to build partnerships toward community engagement goals as part of its pursuit for Top Tier status. Our department in particular, The Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (The Center), houses a set of federally-funded programs that contribute to UNLV’s goals. All Center programs are housed within UNLV’s Student Affairs division and are designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. As such, The Center’s mission is to provide traditional and innovative educational opportunities to a diverse community through targeted services and research that promote personal success.
The newly added AANAPISI Part A and F grants increase the Center’s capacity to assist an underserved population in Southern Nevada. This population consists of low income and/or first-generation students from the APIA community on the UNLV campus. As a new staff member for the program, the APIASF travel grant provided me an opportunity to convene with other program administrators across the country. During the capacity building sessions, I was able to discuss best practices and form consensus on key issues facing the APIA community. This also afforded the Center’s AANAPISI program the platform to share how Southern Nevada has its own specific challenges APIA students face in persisting and attaining postsecondary education.
Further, attending APAHE preconference allowed me to witness how the APIA student narrative is told through multiple lenses. What resonated with me was students’ digital narratives presenting which presented students’ struggles in a more personal way. The digital narrative is important in debunking some of the myths that surround the APIA community. In learning how impactful the digital narrative is, I plan to enlist our students in the AANAPISI program at UNLV to share their stories. Commonly referred to as “Talk Story” in our Hawaiian student circles, sharing their personal narratives that describe their struggles will ultimately provide a broader lens for our APIA community. More specifically, through The Center, these narratives will be informative for UNLV administrators and faculty so they can support students’ journeys during their undergraduate pursuits at UNLV.
Additionally, the APIASF convening validated our measures toward successfully creating a pipeline to further the persistence and undergraduate degree attainment of our disadvantaged AANAPISI student population. In keeping up with UNLV’s current initiatives, the Center’s AANAPISI Summer Research Institute encourages students to get involved with faculty- mentored summer research to increase the university’s standing to Top Tier status. Our AANAPISI program will start its new summer orientation this spring to help prepare 40 AANAPISI students for summer research. The culminating event will be held in November 2017 at our annual AANAPISI/McNair research symposium. The symposium showcases the hard work students in the AANAPISI program have completed through the summer.
Being afforded the chance to attend APAHE through the Kriesge APIASF travel grant, I was able to form better ideas and approaches to assist our students at UNLV. What I will take away from this preconference is the importance of the digital narrative in breaking myths surrounding the APIA community. Lastly, providing access to research will ensure a pipeline to creating greater outcomes for students at UNLV.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas