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PNMGC Project Assistants Speak at the Western Association of Graduate Schools Conference

April 2, 2018 - Mark Narvaez

PNMGC Project Assistants Glenda Lewis, Mark Narvaez, and Theresah Napetey speak at the Western Association of Graduate Schools 2018 Conference.

Graduate Student Project Assistants with the Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color (PNMGC) recently returned from Las Vegas, Nevada, where they delivered a workshop presentation at the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) Annual Conference. This year’s edition of the annual conference was held on March 18 – 21, and was themed, “The Next 60 Years: Graduate Education in a Changing Landscape”. WAGS, a regional association affiliated with the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools, identifies its’ primary purpose as being “the consideration of mutual problems among member institutions, relating to graduate studies and research.

Speaking at a concurrent session titled, Promoting Diversity, Mentorship, and Student Success, PNMGC student staff provided attendees with an overview of the program’s 17 year history at the University of New Mexico, its’ strategic service areas, and programmatic structure, while focusing specifically on the organization and operation of its’ core “Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program” and the role of peer mentorship in supporting academic excellence, retention, and graduation. Representing UNM and PNMGC as panel presenters were: Theresah Napetey, Master’s Student, Special Education; Glenda Lewis, Doctoral Candidate, Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, and; Mark Narvaez, Master’s Student, Counselor Education Program. “From feedback received at our session, and from conversations with conferees from other academic institutions”, Narvaez said, “I was gratified to learn of the increasing role and resource which mentorship is playing at universities throughout the country, and specifically, of the uniqueness of PNMGC’s longtime mentorship program”. Lewis observed, “The WAGS 2018 Conference validated the need for peer-to-peer mentorship and the work that PNMGC has done for the past seventeen years”. Napetey commented, “My first academic and professional conference was at the WAGS 2018 Conference. As a first generation and international student, it was heartwarming to listen to seasoned professionals about the need for cross-cultural experiential learning and knowledge sharing”.

PNMGC was established in the 2002-03 academic year, through the organizational efforts of a group of graduate students of color who recognized and responded to a perceived need to promote and support the academic success of UNM students and scholars of color. PNMGC presently serves underrepresented students, both undergraduate and graduate, across diverse backgrounds, cultural identities, and scholarly interests, in the strategic areas of academic excellence, leadership and professional development, social networking and support, and peer mentorship.