Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

The AAHHE Graduate Fellows Program: "Everything That I Needed"

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

The AAHHE Graduate Fellows Program: "Everything That I Needed"

Article excerpt

My experience as an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Graduate Fellow this past year has forever changed my experience in the academy, more so than I had ever expected. I first learned about the AAHHE Graduate Fellows Program from a faculty member whom I met while acquiring my master's degree at Miami University. Now a dear friend and mentor, Dr. David Pérez II highly encouraged me to apply when I began my doctoral program at The Ohio State University in the 2016- 2017 year. I applied without knowing what to expect. Looking back on it, the AAHHE Graduate Fellows Program was everything that I needed.

Before attending AAHHE's annual conference and participating in the Graduate Fellows program, I began pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs because I wanted to positively impact the lives of college students with historically marginalized identities. As a first-generation college student from Phoenix, Arizona, I started my undergraduate career at New York University confused about what my purpose would be in life. Moreover, during this time, I was making sense of my racial identity and how it intersected with my sexuality. As a queer [sic] Latino man, I have constantly asked myself the question of how I fit within the academy. The mentors I found at NYU helped me along in this personal journey, leading me to discover that I would want to do the same for other students in the future. Nevertheless, to this day, I continue to struggle with navigating higher education institutions that were not built for me. …

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