Campus community prepares for Hispanic-serving conference

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities will be hosting its annual conference welcoming exemplary Hispanic students. The conference will be conducted virtually through webinars Oct. 26 to Oct. 28.

The HACU conference serves as an occasion for Hispanic students, faculty and administrators to network with professionals and share knowledge through workshops. The opportunities attendees are exposed to have led to internships, scholarships and other career programs.

Holly Diaz, a first-year nutrition dietetics student, is a first-generation Mexican Japanese student who hopes to gain connections and opportunities to further her career.
Diaz leapt at the opportunity to apply to attend the upcoming event. She applied this September and, a few weeks later, received an email from the dean of the Huntley College of Agriculture asking her to attend an interview.

During the interview Diaz explained why she felt she was a strong candidate and why she should be one of the students to represent the agriculture college.

When asked by the dean to describe what makes her a good leader, Diaz responded, “I believe that a leader is someone that actually listens to their peers and guides them. You need to be open-minded, not shut anyone out, and make sure everyone feels comfortable. I definitely learned that a leader is someone you want to be well-rounded and understanding.”

Diaz hopes to continue growing as a leader and impact CPP students.
“I want to definitely leave a legacy here,” Diaz added.

Terri Gomez, associate provost of the student success, equity and innovation center, has attended past conferences alongside students for several years. Because CPP is a Hispanic-serving institution, Gomez focuses on finding opportunities for students to grow and network. She also supports the Cesar E. Chavez Center for Higher Education in securing funding to pay for student’s participation in the conference.

Gomez said, “There’s some federal funding that is called Title V Department of Education and HSI funding. We actually find out about these programs through the HACU conference. It’s a really great resource for funding’s and for grant opportunities.”

Gomez added that 21 of the 23 California State University campuses are Hispanic-serving institutions, and it is important that faculty are able to access the sort of funding that is set aside by the federal government.

“I ask the Chavez Center and the Dreamer Center in particular to nominate some students and they do a really great job of preparing the students because they have to dress professionally, have cards made and have a resume,” Gomez added.

Diana Ascencio, an academic advisor for the College of Science, attended the HACU international conference in 2015 and became the first DACA recipient from CPP to travel outside the country for the event. Initially as a DACA student, she could not leave the country, but obtained permission from the federal government to travel to Mexico City for educational purposes and return to the United States.

“I hadn’t experienced something before where I felt like there was endless possibilities and there was so many people willing to help,” Ascencio said.

The aim for faculty is for students like Ascencio to not worry about costs and instead, focus on learning and taking advantage of the scholarships, internships and networking opportunities that are presented.

Ascencio said, “It was a very special moment because for us there’s not many moments where we get to see people left and right that look like us that are very successful in higher education, so it was very nice to see that. If students want to go, just to be in a room with very influential people that will help you through probably your entire life, I think it’s definitely worth it.”

For more information visit the HACU conference website.

(Feature image Sharon Wu | The Poly Post) 

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