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Congratulations on NASPA Appointment

Blake Robert Abraham Kaililauli’i Viena was selected by NASPA to be the National Communication Coordinator for Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community (APIKC) as well as the representative for the Indigenous Knowledge Community for NASPA Region 5. 




ELP M.Ed. Student Affairs at the Conference on Diversity Excellence (C.O.D.E.)

Brenda Dao, Blake Viena, Vivian D’Andrade, Joren Plunkett, and Jonathan Cardenas presented at the C.O.D.E. Conference on Feb. 15, 2017 at the University of Utah.  Presentations included:

  • Reclaiming Empowerment
  • Activism 101: An Asian American & Pacific Islander Lens
  • Hor d'oeuvres of White Normative Predilection: How a Colorblind lens of Diversity Divides Marginalized Groups and Preserves Racism

All sessions were well attended!



2016 Utah NASPA Presentations – Friday, Sept. 30 in Olpin Student Union

Trusting the process & Fit: To Whom?

Brenda Dao & Blake Viena

When advising we often throw the words “fit” and “trust the process” around without understanding the impact these words have. These phrases are often said without thoroughly unpacking the systematic and institutional oppression they can be associated with. Through an interactive dialogue, we will identify the ways these terms can be seen as exclusive and harmful to students and professionals in student affairs.

Am I this or That? Supporting Queer and Trans Students of Color

Romeo Jackson

"Queer students of color are understanding themselves more and more as an intersectional people and no longer identifying solely with a racial minority or simply as queer/transgender. However, institutions have yet to catch up to these changing dynamics and having fallen behind in supporting the ways students are understanding themselves. Often operating in silos, Cultural Centers, LGBT Resource Centers, Women's Resource Centers, and Disability Resource Centers help increase the dissonance felt by queer and trans students of color through monolithic resources and programs. How might institutions of higher education respond to the changing politics of identity? What does an intersectional model for supporting queer and trans students of color look like? This program will benefit anyone from students to professionals who are interested in making their campus resources more accessible to queer and trans students of color."

Authentic Self Care and Community Healing

Natalie Pinkney Carmen Gold, Whit Chapman, Teresa Pond

Self care; we hear it all the time within student affairs but do we actually and adequately take care of ourselves? Our communities? We believe that we can do our best work when we are open and honest with ourselves and others.

Experiencing the meaning and intersections of the NASPA and ACPA Professional Competencies

Sharon A. Aiken-Wisniewski, Amy Wiscombe, Jeff Furlong, Kera Murphy, Kelley Brown, Kris Farnsworth, Maria Reyes,, Teresa Pond

What guides your professional development as a practitioner in student affairs? One key resource is the NASPA & ACPA Professional Competencies for Student Affairs Practitioners. These competencies broadly define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected in practice. This presentation will focus on sharing these competencies through an interactive session that offers each participant the opportunity to engage with 4 competency areas as well as the outcome levels that define development from foundational to intermediate to advanced. This session will engage participants in fast paced activities that offer a deeper understanding of 4 of the NASPA & ACPA Professional Competencies.


ELP Community Presenting at the C.O.D.E. on Tuesday and Wednesday – Stop by

Queering “Diversity” In Academia – Whit Chapman & Yasin Fairley

By investigating minoritized identities/experiences we invite learners to engage the content of this workshop through the lens of their own lived experiences. We will explore revolutionary ideologies that subvert the white phallic gaze through a dialog of resistance under duress of cis-normative representation. A physical thinking exercise, Sites of Subjugation, will trouble the notions of oppressive systems, as contested sites of identity, power and resistance. We will re-envision the classroom as a sociopolitical place-of-healing.

Tuesday March 29th 11:00-11:45
Univ. of Utah - Pano East

Pedagogy of Liberation: Teaching and Re-Envisioning Reality and Love within Higher Education – Whit Chapman, Natalie Pinkney, Devan Church, Maria Isabel Reyes, Amy Nguyen Wiscombe, & Jeilani Aboud Athman

Educational philosopher Paulo Freire and poet, novelist, playwright James Baldwin provide critical frameworks to address systemic oppression and marginalization. Through their writing, one can gain a deeper understanding of privilege, oppression, and hegemony. As graduate students studying higher education, we invite participants to a panel discussion on our experiences with these authors in the classroom, alongside our process to publish a manuscript emphasizing the importance of including such critical pedagogy in contemporary higher education curriculum.

Wednesday March 30th 1:00 – 1:45
University of Utah - Union Parlor A

grad studentsThree second year graduate students, Tara Schoenherr, Kristi Preston and Portia Anderson, presented a session titled “You Only Grad Once: Maximizing the Graduate Assistant Experience” at the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers fall conference. The session helped current graduate students and their supervisors maximize the graduate assistantship experience. Common trends for housing graduate students were examined. Current graduate students created a plan to gain the skills and experiences necessary to fulfill their graduate school dreams. Supervisors learned how to best support and mentor the grads in their life on the path to student affairs success.


Conference on Social Awareness-“Decoding our Colleges: Freirean Obligation in Higher Education

Three students from Dr. Erin Castro’s class on Foundation Higher Education presented their class project at the annual 2013 Conference on Social Awareness sponsored by the Associated Students University of Utah. Kate Handziuk, Portia Anderson and Tim Davis presented a panel session called “Decoding our Colleges: Freirean Obligation in Higher Education”. The panel members used Paulo Freire as their philosophical framework to address topics of standardized testing and alternative assessment methods, punitive measures and conflict resolution in the conduct process, and affirmative action practices. Congratulations to them for being accepted to present and a thank you for sharing the information!

bergerson groupAmy Bergerson, Associate Professor and five recent ELP graduates, Bobbi Davis, Emily Edmonston, Thomas Hurtado, Sonnaly Khouanphet, and Anita Kiteau recently presented a 75 minute Research Session titled “Multiple Perspectives on the Persistence of Diverse College Students at the 2012 Western Regional NASPA Conference.   This session was crafted because higher education institutions are more diverse than ever. However, much research on persistence emphasizes traditional students, and retention efforts may be misguided. During this session they shared the findings of five research papers about college students who work, have experienced foster care, are Asians and Pacific Islanders, and are international students. The session also included a discussion about how their findings can be used to improve retention efforts


castroDr. Erin Castro, Assistant Professor, chaired and facilitated a presentation titled “Higher Education Under Constraint: Highlighting the scholarship of college students who are incarcerated” at the 2012 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) conference in Seattle, picWashington.  She and her colleague, Dr. Rob Scott (University of Illinois) discussed higher education in prison and highlighted the scholarship of students who are incarcerated and enrolled in a program called the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois ( In the picture are Johnny Page (left) and Andra Slater (right) on the screen, two of Dr. Castro's former students. During the presentation, Dr. Castro showed a video of the students discussing their scholarship. Afterward, she facilitated a discussion with participants about the students' work and some of the institutional, practical, and ethical constraints of doing higher education in prison.  More information about AESA can be found at:

An article titled “Rethinking College and Career Readiness: A Call for Understanding Context to Address Racial Inequality” by Dr. Erin Castro was recently included in the Office of Community College Research and Leadership semi-annual newsletter, a special edition on educational equity. The article can be found at  The entire newsletter can be found at:






Last Updated: 11/20/20