Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Pathways Program Seeks to Diversify the Academy

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Pathways Program Seeks to Diversify the Academy

Article excerpt


After graduating from college in 2002, Johanna Lopez spent a decade working in the banking industry before enrolling at the local community college in El Paso, Texas.

"I started off as a receptionist and then became a teller, but I couldn't advance anymore because I did not have a degree," said Lopez, who planned to study business, but after taking a Chicano literature course decided to double-major in history and Chicano studies.

After transferring to the University of Texas, El Paso, Lopez set her sights on earning a Ph.D. and becoming a university professor.

Now, she is one step closer to achieving that goal, thanks to a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation that was created to increase the number of Latino professors working in the humanities at colleges and universities across the nation.

"I feel like I'm ready for graduate school," said Lopez, 33, a fellow in HSI Pathways to the Professoriate, an innovative five-year program between the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania and three Hispanic Serving Institutions: Florida International University; the University of Texas, El Paso; and California State University, Northridge. Five majority research institutions - New York University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; Northwestern University; and University of California, Davis - are partnering institutions.

HSI undergraduate students participate in intensive sum mer research programs and cross-institutional conferences while receiving mentoring and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school.

Lopez, the first in her family to attend college, has reaped the benefits of participating in the program. She has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in history at the University of Iowa and is waiting to hear back from several other institutions before she makes a final decision next month. She said participating in the HSI Pathways to the Professoriate program has given her the confidence needed to pursue her academic interests.

Recently, the fellows gathered in Philadelphia to present their research and engage in discussions on a variety of topics that focus on identity, mental health and writing and publishing in academe.

Another fellow, Amanda Gonzalez Izquierdo, has been accepted into a doctoral program in English at Rutgers University. …

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