Teaching & Learning

Latinx, Ute Tribe Students Visit USU Campus, Participate in Diversity, First Gen Day

By Marcus Jensen |

Noelle E. Cockett speaks with high school students from the Uintah Basin area at a dinner during a visit to USU's Logan campus on Nov. 17.

LOGAN, Utah — Thirty students participating in the Ute Indian Tribe Tutor/Mentor program as well as several Latinx students visited Utah State University’s Logan campus on Nov. 17 and 18, giving them a better understanding of the college experience and the chance to meet with leaders and current students. The students were from Uintah, Union and Uintah River high schools.

“As the Uintah Basin Campus endeavors to be inclusive, we find that our efforts to support and include all students benefit the entire campus as we learn to understand, respect and support,” stated James Y. Taylor, Associate Vice President. “The beauty of support is that we all become stronger together.”

The Ute students arrived on campus on Nov. 17, eating dinner with USU President Noelle E. Cockett. The following day, both groups of students were able to participate in the True Blue Diversity and First Generation Day, enjoying a lunch that included a student panel, group activities, a keynote speaker and Aggie Ice Cream before receiving a campus tour.

“The purpose of taking a group of high school students to campus is that they will envision their future selves being on a college campus,” said Maygen Simm, the Ute Tribe Liaison at USU Uintah Basin. “Additionally, trips like this allow students to begin a dialogue and build a network with their fellow diverse and first-generation peers about attending college. These conversations are important, especially for first-gen students who may not have the opportunity to have them with their family members who have not had the opportunity to attend an institution of higher education.”

During the event, students met with current USU students and faculty members from a variety of backgrounds.

“I love that they've brought people who actually have participated at USU and also there are USU professors here who come from diverse backgrounds,” student Beverly Cheung said. “I am getting the sense that they really do want all different types of people to come here, people with different ideas and from different backgrounds. They are putting a big emphasis on how that makes USU a great campus. As someone who is a person of color and someone who comes from a very non-diverse town, it means a lot to hear about how USU really puts an emphasis on diversity.”

Seeing this diversity on campus impacted several students who attended. They started to imagine themselves on the campus, having seen that there are students that come from similar backgrounds.

“When you are diverse, you sometimes feel like you don’t fit in,” said student Cynthia Ruiz. “It is kind of hard to know where to go. It's very helpful to see that there's people like me here and I can find someone that maybe is in the same situation I am. It is cool to see that there are people here that I might not know, but you know their story is similar to yours.”

After the lunch and activities, the students were then led on a tour around USU’s campus. Students were eager to see the different facilities and learn about the diverse programs that USU offers.

“I was excited to see the campus and see how everything was organized. I really wanted to see the educational centers and am hoping to see the educational programs,” said student Leila Leon, who has an eye on majoring in education and childhood development. “I’m excited to go to college because of the educational experience I will gain. I love learning new things.”

The tour also helped students feel like they weren’t just showing up, but they had a familiarity with the campus, should they choose to attend USU.

“It helps you not be as nervous, as if you were just coming for the first time,” said student Cianna Moore. “You get familiar with the vibe and how the grounds are.”

The student trips were coordinated by staff members at USU Uintah Basin, with Simm coordinating the Ute Tribe student group and Cynthia White coordinating the Latinx student group. While the advisers say the students learn a lot when they visit a college campus for the first time, perhaps the best part is what happens next.

“One of the things I enjoy the most is our ride home,” said Korin Shavanaux-Dunn, Ute Tribe Higher Education coordinator. “They start talking about GPA, what they need to do from this point to start applying and what they need to do financially. We start getting them a checklist. It’s great hearing that conversation afterwards, and that just tells me that they are looking forward to a future that possibly includes postsecondary education.”

WRITER

Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications
marcus.jensen@usu.edu

CONTACT

Maygen Simm
Academic Adviser, Ute Tribe Liaison
Utah State University Uintah Basin
maygen.simm@usu.edu


TOPICS

Student Success 263stories Statewide Campuses 171stories Diversity & Inclusion 169stories Latinx 14stories

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