On August 10 at the McGavick Conference Center on Clover Park Technical College’s Lakewood Campus, the Outreach and Entry Services Team held its first ever Latino Exploration Day for current and potential students.
Planned and organized by Micalah Peiper and Sandy Mondragon, the event was created to help potential Latino students get an idea of the resources available through CPTC and how to help them start, continue, and finish their education while minimizing barriers.
This event couldn’t have come at a better time. With recent events impacting the Latino community, it was more important than ever for CPTC to provide a safe space where potential students from all walks of life could feel welcomed and to flourish in their chosen pathway.
The entire event was held in Spanish and provided childcare for families. Tables were spotted with board games and craft materials for children to keep themselves entertained while parents heard more on what was available to them as students at CPTC. Immediately walking into the event, friendly faces from the Entry Services team members and College administration welcomed potential students.
This event was a long time in the making, it took Peiper and Mondragon three months to strategize and organize. As the Director for Outreach and Entry Services, Micalah saw the importance of targeting their outreach efforts, but credits Dr. Joyce Loveday and Scott Latiolais for their desire to make this event a reality.
“There was absolutely a need for this type of event. When looking at the population of students that we serve, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we partner together to show that CPTC is a welcoming campus and a great place to start your education?’” said Pieper. “ One of the core pillars of our Guided Pathways work is diversity, equity, and inclusion, and what better way to really promote that than this initiative.”
Mondragon, an Entry Specialist was particularly proud of the event and stated, “Our main focus and goal was to be able to provide more services to Latino students and demonstrate that Clover Park wants to help them obtain their goals for higher education. It was also about making a connection and providing resources that would be valuable to them.”
The event provided information in the form of a presentation delivered in Spanish by Mondragon and Deysi Martinez, with a special guest speaker Salvador Clark-Moran. Salvador is a current CPTC student who has been thriving in his Dental Assistant Program. His excellent grades built a path to a full tuition from Washington’s Opportunity Grant. Afterwards families were encouraged to speak with representatives from Centro Latino, a community resource center that provides social services to the Latino and Indigenous communities throughout the area. They also had an opportunity to meet with Karina Calzada to discuss options for Transitional Studies.
At the heart of the event was addressing the real concerns families and students have when attending college. Even in the best of times, starting school is not an easy decision for most, and that unease is heightened when adding language barriers. CPTC wants to be a partner, and to be inclusive to all no matter their background. This event is part of the college’s plan to implement meaningful engagement to diverse individuals and let the community know that CPTC is a safe and welcoming place to learn and grow.
As for what the future holds, there are plans to have a quarterly Latino Exploration Day. Mondragon looks forward to developing the event and says, “We hope to see this event grow in upcoming quarters and really look forward to reaching more people at the next session in October.”