Two College of Humanities students will represent the COH and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education.
In its 30th year, NCORE will take place May 30 through June 3 in Fort Worth, Texas, with attendees from across the country gathering for presentations and workshops on research, programs and trends related to race and ethnicity in America’s colleges and universities.
Andrea Garcia Brown, a senior studying Africana Studies and public health, and Brandon Fabian Mojardin, a freshman majoring in French and political science, were selected by the COH Diversity and Inclusion committee.
Brown and Mojardin, both graduates of Yuma’s Kofa High School, said they are looking forward to engaging with other students from around the country, embracing the conference as both an important addition to their academic studies and a source of valuable information they can bring back to the UA community.
“I wanted to go to the conference to get a broad perspective about what race and ethnicity means to other people,” Brown says. “I wanted to experience something bigger than what an online module can teach me.”
Brown, who will graduate in December and is looking into graduate schools for programs related to race and ethnicity, serves on the UA’s Diversity Task Force and says challenges remain for diversity in higher education.
“At the U of A, I’ve thrown myself into the community that talks about it, but other parts of campus don’t talk about it so much. In some areas, it’s still taboo,” she says. “Race and ethnicity are such broad topics. People always think of skin color, but it’s religion, nationality, and language too. It’s all a mixture.”
Mojardin, who plans to leverage his personal interest in studying languages and foreign cultures into a career in diplomacy, said emails about the conference piqued his curiosity about not only the event itself, but the underlying issues.
“Reading what it stood for drew my attention. As a society, we’ve had great progress on racial and ethnic equality, but we can still improve in many ways and I was curious about what NCORE had to say,” he says. “A big thing I’m looking forward to is getting past the news and headlines about racism and discrimination and digging into the day-to-day challenges to start working toward a solution.”
The COH Diversity and Inclusion Committee is charged with sending recommendations for implementing and practicing inclusive excellence in the College. The committee selected Brown and Mojardin, who will receive funding to cover conference registration, travel, lodging and meals, said co-chair Toni Alexander, COH’s Assistant Dean for Business & Finance.
“The College of Humanities is dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness. Our students are prepared to engage and collaborate with the local international communities; to enhance communication and work ethics with people from diverse backgrounds; to address the grand challenges of a rapidly changing world. We are pleased to fund these two students who will represent our College at this important conference,” said committee co-chair Javier Duran, professor of Spanish and border studies.
The UA in general will be well represented at NCORE, with a team of 25 students, staff, and faculty attending the event, representing ASUA, Cultural Centers, Residence Life, the Office for Diversity and Inclusiveness, College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and the Office of Early Academic Outreach. The Wildcats will wear red UA T-shirts on the Friday of the conference to show the university’s presence, said Jesús Treviño, Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Senior Diversity Officer.
“Inclusive Excellence is about recognizing the gifts and talents that all UA students from many backgrounds and with diverse experiences bring to the UA educational context,” he said. “Sending students to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, the premier event in the U.S. for exploring and understanding diversity issues in higher education, allows our students to expand their knowledge, skills, and talents and prepare them for practicing leadership in highly diverse work settings, society and world. I commend the College of Humanities for practicing Inclusive Excellence by sending two of their students to the conference.”