Friday, March 4, 2016

Northeastern Illinois University Associate Professor Francisco Gaytan will lead 15 Educational Leadership, Higher Education graduate students to participate in the 14th Annual Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Alumni of Color Conference in Cambridge, Mass., on March 4-5.

Five of the students will present in two separate workshops at the conference.

Teamwork Makes the DREAM Work: A Toolkit to an Undocu-friendly Campus” will be presented by Angelica Hernandez, Lidia Monica Meneses, Karen Orozco and Paola Vargas. In this session, the trained undocumented student allies will share their knowledge and practices implemented at Northeastern. They also will discuss Northeastern’s Undocumented Students Project.

Jesus Sanchez will present “Create Resistance by Using Spoken Word to Politically Engage Communities of Color.” This lecture will feature the poetry of Sanchez—an art teacher, Chicago Teachers Union delegate and poetry slam coach at Social Justice High School—and his students. Sanchez also will describe Chicago’s current political climate and how poetry can be used as a tool of social activism.

Harvard students of color created the conference in 2002 to bring awareness to educational issues impacting communities of color. Attracting an average of 400 attendees annually, the conference has become a signature event of the HGSE.

“I am proud to take Northeastern Illinois University students to Harvard because it expands their view of higher educational institutions,” said Gaytan, a Harvard alumnus who was part of the committee that founded the conference in 2002. “This conference began because Harvard is not always at the forefront of issues of diversity, and this is definitely where Northeastern students can shine and teach them a thing or two. Students always come away feeling empowered.”

All of the students who are attending the conference are currently receiving Northeastern’s ENgaging LAtino Communities for Education (ENLACE) scholarship, which is available to full- or part-time graduate students of Latino/a descent.

ENLACE aims to improve the pipeline to post-secondary completion for Latinos, first-generation college students, and all members of underrepresented groups, particularly at urban Hispanic Serving Institutions. This is accomplished through the rigorous training of graduate students in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Higher Education concentration with the support of the ENLACE scholarship so that they will move into college and university leadership roles.