Title: Director of Student Activities

College / University / Organization: Maryland Institute College of Art

Position for which you are applying: Member-at-large Mid-Level

In the space below, please describe your involvement with ACPA, including any leadership positions you have held

I have had the opportunity of being involved with ACPA (in some capacity) since August 2006. My involvement began by being elected as a directorate member for the Commission for Student Involvement (CSI), where I went on to serve as the Vice President for Membership. As I look back, I will always consider CSI my launching pad into ACPA involvement. I appreciated finding my niche and community through CSI, knowing that ACPA was a large and complex organization. CSI allowed me to meet other colleagues and discuss best practices and the latest articles on student involvement. Around the same time of being CSI’s Vice President for Membership, I also got involved within my state division. I was elected as a Member-at-Large for the Maryland College Personnel Association (MCPA). During my three-year term, I was involved in various association initiatives such as planning & implementing our association’s largest event (MCPA Fall Conference) as well as facilitating networking events for our members. I had an amazing experience being on the state association board, which motivated me to apply for MCPA’s President-Elect. Thanks to the support of colleagues, I was elected for a three-year term (President-Elect, President, and Past-President). I am very proud of the accomplishments during my tenure: increased social media presence, “Welcome to Maryland” video for new colleagues in the state, creation of a professional-looking MCPA website, dual membership with ACPA, increase in applicants for board members (150% increase from previous year), electronic election process, and an overall increase in the percentage of MCPA members who voted in the election. Most recently, I have been working with the ACPA Involvement Team to help connect ACPA members with various involvement opportunities within the association. 

Please describe how you will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values if elected/appointed to this position.

If elected to this position, I will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values because I believe in the association’s core values. It feels great when an organization’s values are congruent with my own. Therefore, it is easier to work towards these when they are on the forefront of my own professional practice. For example, I fully support the education and development of the total student. I work at a small private arts college, where students are extremely academically focused. It is an expensive college and the students are fully committed to their studio practice in order to become better artists. However, our daily work consists of reaching out to students and encouraging their own holistic development. I fully appreciate and support their classroom and studio work, but I want to make sure that they are also developing as human beings during their time in college. I want to make sure they learn how to manage their time, how to establish an effective organizational system, how to work with others, how to be culturally competent, how to work towards an equal and just world, and how to be resilient. I also want them to be confident in themselves and believe that they could make an impact in today’s society (whatever that looks like for you). On another note, I have really enjoyed my work with the Involvement Team because I have been able to reach out to new members (or members who have not gotten involved within the association) and connect them with various involvement opportunities. We know the benefits of involvement for our students, and the same applies for our ACPA members. I am not saying that every ACPA member needs to be involved, but every member who wants to be engaged should have the opportunity of doing so. Not only will it will make them feel more included and connected to the association, it will also get them more invested and supportive of ACPA (its mission, goals, initiatives, etc).  I also believe that life is a continual, learning process. We must always challenge ourselves, and learn/grow from our experiences. Therefore, not only is it important to stay current with the latest research on student issues; it is just as crucial to do our own inner work/reflection, to challenge ourselves and step outside our comfort zone, and to receive constructive feedback from colleagues (even if it stings a little at first).  

After reviewing the qualifications of the position for which you are applying, please describe briefly below how you believe you meet each qualification.

There are two qualifications for this position: 

  1. A member in good standing in ACPA and 

  2. Must have more than 5 years of full-time professional experience 

I am very proud to have been an active ACPA member since August 2005. 

I am a member in good standing that has also only missed one convention in the past eight years. As far as experience, I am now on my eighth year of full-time professional work. 

As a leader, how will you contribute to the work of the Association?

I will contribute to the work of the Association by fulfilling the responsibilities for Member-at-Large Mid-Level. I will bring with me the experience of serving as a member-at-large at a state association level and look forward to applying what I learned to the ACPA association level. I look forward to hearing the needs of mid-level professionals and striving towards fulfilling those.In late October, I had the opportunity of participating in the ACPA Mid-Level Community of Practice Skype Meetup. I really enjoyed meeting other mid-level professionals from colleges across the nation and discussing what we were looking for from the Mid-Level Community of Practice (MLCOP). For example, many of us felt that supervising staff was not something that was covered in our graduate programs. We have had to learn about supervision through experience, a trial and error process. Therefore, I wonder if the Association could be providing resources, websites, or articles that could be helpful to mid-level professionals. I intend to stay engaged with MLCOP and would share this information with Association leaders. 

For a few years, I have considered applying for an ACPA Governing Board position. However, it was not until now that my confidence, experience, and the “right position” came together. I do not take my commitments lightly as I am very intentional about my involvements. I believe that my experiences with the Commission for Student Involvement, the Maryland College Personnel Association, the Donna M. Bourassa Mid-Level Management Institute, and the ACPA Involvement Team have prepared me for this position. I’m very excited to run for office. Bring it on! 

After reading the introductory statement about the ACPA Leader Selection Process, take a moment to reflect on your own experiences at the intersections of equity, inclusion and diversity. How will your experiences help you in our work to champion equity, inclusion and diversity within and outside the ACPA community?

To no surprise to student affairs professionals, I began to critically think about some of my identities during college — about being Latina, being first-generation, and being queer. We can fast forward to graduate school, where I had the opportunity of doing some intense inner work. It was a time where I reflected on the many identities that I had taken for granted throughout my life (e.g. growing up Catholic, being able-bodied, having a degree, etc.)  Therefore, I not only became aware of my various identities, but also began to understand the concepts of power, privilege, marginalized groups, and social justice. I carry that awareness with me in my daily work. I know that because of my various identities, I will be perceived a certain way. Another colleague could say the same exact thing in the same exact tone, but it will be interpreted differently because they may be a different race or gender. However, I also acknowledge that it can be very empowering to represent my various identities. I strongly believe that “You can’t be what you can’t see” (Marie Wilson from the White House Project). Thus, by serving as a Member-at-Large, I can inspire others and help them realize that they can do it too. It does not mean that every ACPA member needs to be involved or hold a leadership position; but everyone that has the desire to run for a leadership position, should have the access to do so. I want us to strive to have a diverse group of ACPA leaders, so that we can have as many voices represented around the table. I will never be able to speak on behalf of an entire group, but I can share my experience and I listen to others’ experiences. With an empathic heart, an open-mind, and a drive for equity, we can work together to better understand this crazy world we live in and create a better tomorrow.