M.Ed. Student Profile: Devan Church

Name: Devan Church

Twitter: @ChurchDevanBC

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Undergrad Institution & Major: University of Utah, Gender Studies

Favorite Food: Pastrami and Chopped Liver on Rye

Why did you choose the ELP program at the U?: I am very interested in social justice and advocacy in higher education. The ELP program has both theoretical depth and practical concepts built into the curriculum.

What are your dreams for your future? I’d like to work with a Community College or trade education program to bridge the gap between open access institutions and traditional Universities. Ideally, I would be able to work in a place that has strong ties to folk, jazz and blues music – NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans etc….

What is a skill you hope to develop? Break Dancing, Skateboarding, Rhythmic Flow……… Writing(the eternal struggle)! Better Assessment!!!!

What is something unique about you that you would like us to know? I’ve been playing the guitar for 20 years, and studying jazz and blues for 15 years.

Where would you go on a dream vacation if money/time did not enter into your thought process? I’d love to go to New Orleans, followed by a trip to Eastern Europe to document the Slavic accordion and brass band folk music of the region.

What is your favorite place to study/work? Graduate Student Reading Room FTW!


Educational Leadership & Policy M.Ed. Student Affairs Campus Visit Day

You’re invited!
ELP M.Ed. in Student Affairs Campus Visit Day 2015

We invite prospective students to campus on November 19 from 1 to 7 PM to learn more about the Master’s of Education in Student Affairs.  You will meet faculty, staff, students, and student affairs partners; learn more about courses and internships; and attend a learning experience in the Multiculturalism & Diversity course.

RSVP by Monday, Nov. 16 to Marilynn Howard (Marilynn.howard@utah.edu or 801/581-6714) and please indicate the activities you will be joining.  Also, please let us know of any dietary restrictions you may have.

A sample of the activities for this informative day.

1:00 – 1:45           Welcome – Overview of ELP Department and M.Ed. in Student Affairs

1:45 – 2:55                  Break-out sessions

  • Graduate Assistant Opportunities – meet current GA’s & supervisors
  • Your Current Career & M.Ed. Enrollment – meet students and alumni that engaged in their current higher education position and enrolled in the M.Ed. Degree
  • Meet ELP Faculty
  • Internships – learn more about the internship from students and supervisors

2:55 – 3:30      Refreshment Break to meet ELP Community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners from student affairs)

3:30 – 5:00      Tour of Campus – The University of Utah has a great deal to offer those seeking an engaged graduate experience.  The tour will include the Marriott Library and Student Life Center as well as areas that house the Division of Student Affairs.  Your tour guide is an alumni of the program.

5:00 – 5:35      Further Information on M.Ed. in Student Affairs, Admissions Tips & Questions

5:45 – 7 PM    Course:  Multiculturalism and Diversity – taught by Dr. Maria Ledesma, ELP Assistant Professor

Course Description:  This course is designed to help improve graduate students’ understanding of the major theoretical, research, and practical issues related to multiculturalism and diversity in higher education. The course is helpful to students dealing with policy and/or conducting research that intersects gender, class, race/ethnicity, power, and/or sexuality in higher education. It provides an opportunity for students to become more reflective educational leaders and policymakers by challenging them to critically analyze how higher education influences the experiences of culturally diverse people.
We look forward to sharing the M.Ed. in Student Affairs Degree with you!

Informal Gathering at ASHE 2015

Thinking about your next educational step?  Use opportunities at ASHE, such as this gathering sponsored by the Educational Leadership & Policy Department at the University of Utah, to learn about your options.  Faculty, current students, and alumni will be present to talk about the degree offerings.

As a prospective student attending this event or others, you will learn about educational opportunities, meet people engaged in research, and have fun.  You might talk to faculty about their research or the curriculum for a specific degree program.  Alumni and current students will share their experiences as well as resources that support student success.  Join the University of Utah ELP community on Thursday at 6:30 PM at Hyatt Peaks Lounge to learn more.

ASHE Flyer

Social Justice Leadership in Action

By Andrea Kalvesmaki, ELP Graduate StudentAndrea Kalvesmaki

Last week, I experienced social justice leadership in action. It was raw, it was real, and it provides a lesson for all universities in the face of rising rates of violence and vitriol toward students of color. Invited as visiting speaker for the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), I was presenting on ways in which we can systematically interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline with professor Joseph B. Tulman, director of the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic and the Took Crowell Institute for Youth. Prof. Tulman and I were presenting a systems theory analysis regarding how youth and children can end up incarcerated, and how specific law can intervene and provide reinforcing feedback loops that keep young people out of the juvenile criminal system. It was then especially poignant to be interrupted, mid-presentation, to attend a press conference by the President of UDC regarding student Jason Goolsby, who was detained with a high school friend on the streets of DC for upwards of two hours because a woman called 911 to report she ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the boys’ presence outside of a local area bank. The bank in which Jason Goolsby, an exemplary first year scholarship Freshman at UDC, had an account.

As a student of educational leadership and policy, I was intrigued by how UDC addressed this situation, and especially how President Ronald Mason not only defended both boys (one of whom is not a student at UDC) and presented a call to action at the institutional level to ameliorate racial injustice. Dr. Julian Vasquez-Heilig has published my blog post on this event. Please visit Cloaking Inequity at http://cloakinginequity.com/2015/10/16/alleged-police-harassment-udc-president-stands-for-students/


M.Ed Student Profile: Kelly Brown

Name: Kelly BrownKelly Brown

Twitter: @fraubrownslc

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Undergrad Institution & Major: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, German & International Studies

Favorite Food: Ribeye steak

Why did you choose the ELP program at the U?: I researched many programs and kept coming back to the M Ed in Student Affairs. I’m an academic advisor at the U of U so it’s convenient plus I get 1/2 off of tuition.

What do you love about Salt Lake? Mountains, quick access to desert, safe community, neighborhoods, public transportation, Ballet West, the Episcopal community,

What are your dreams for your future? Career wise, I would like to be able to focus my work specifically with or related to students and to see more diversity in both students, faculty and staff at the University of Utah. On the personal side, I wish for my children thrive and become independent, strong, educated women and, I dream of a remodeled kitchen.

What is a skill you hope to develop? I hope to be able to effectively communicate with people about social justice issues and to be able to quickly build an argument that is based on evidence.

What is something unique about you that you would like us to know? I am a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers football team.

Where would you go on a dream vacation if money/time did not enter into your thought process? I would visit all the UNESCO World Heritage sites and national parks all over the world.

Do you have any family, friends, or pets that are important to you here with you in Salt Lake? Married to Scott with 2 daughters Elizabeth (13) and Valerie (10) and 2 cats. We’ve been very fortunate to form a non-biological family here. A wonderful group of people we can call on at anytime.

What is your favorite place to study/work? Union computer lab on Friday night

Success as a Graduate Student at The University of Utah – Initial Resources

By Dr. Sharon A. Aiken-Wisniewski

Are you a new graduate student at The University of Utah?  Welcome to our campus!  I remember my first days of my graduate program. Some of the best advice I received was to connect with people from across the campus to build my network and utilize resources that support my goals.  Based on these tips, I found that this institution has a vibrant community that is eager to support graduate student success. Now that you are settled into your classes, let me share some additional tips that will contribute to accomplishing your goals.

The University of Utah has a number of libraries located throughout the campus. It is important to familiarize yourself with the wide range of resources that are offered at each location. In addition to traditional library services, you will find workshops on software solutions for research, space dedicated just for graduate students, and resources for all aspects of scholarly writing. Each college has a dedicated librarian who is eager to assist you with your projects. Check out all the options here:  http://www.utah.edu/libraries/index.phpLibrary

If you have not secured your U of U ID Card, please take the time to do this activity.  Your institutional ID is critical for many campus activities, such as the borrowing library resources.  Here’s how to acquire your ID:  http://www.ucard.utah.edu/

Another great resource, which complements your home department and college is the Graduate School.  A variety of general services are provided from travel assistance awards for conference presentations to forms that address academic policy to information on assistantships and fellowships.  The Graduate School works collaboratively with your department and college to guide you through your academic program to the point of graduation. You can familiarize yourself with services and activities at this site:  http://gradschool.utah.edu/current-students/

Finally, connect with the campus, college, and department websites, The Daily Chronicle, and various social media platforms for information on campus events and venues that nurture the whole person.  And, don’t forget to check-out the recently opened Student Life Center for a variety of health and wellness activities that address personal fitness needs.  Music, theater, athletics, and stimulating speakers are just a few of the many opportunities that await you during your graduate education at The University of Utah!

ELP Educating about Privilege at NACURH 2015

Julie Olaf and Tim Davis at NACURHLast weekend at the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) ELP student Julie Olaf and ELP alumnus Tim Davis presented “White Privilege and Peer Dialogues: Students Showing Up for Racial Justice.” The presentation covered strategies for fellow advisors to engage students in discussion of white privilege.

Choosing the ELP Program: My Preview Days Experience

By Justin Felton

It’s that time of year again—students are beginning to hear back from the institutions about on campus interviews, graduate assistantships, and more! It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was in that same position.

A year ago, about this time, I was starting to receive my first responses and eventually heard from the University of Utah. To be completely honest, my grad school search was centered on the Rocky Mountain Region, primarily because I wanted to be in the mountains. However, my partner had also accepted a job offer in Denver, and I wanted to be close to her. When I applied to grad schools, I applied to the U on a whim. It was extremely last minute, and I hadn’t really considered the possibility of moving to Utah. Well, that all changed during my on campus visit.

Coming to campus, I had already been accepted to a school in Colorado and had been offered an assistantship. I came to the U not really expecting to be overly impressed with the program. I had essentially made up my mind that I was going to school in Colorado. From the minute I landed at the SLC International Airport, I started to second guess that initial decision. The current students met us at the airport and were extremely welcoming. I could tell they were genuinely excited to meet all of us potential new students. The whole ride up to campus, I was in awe of the mountains. I had never been to SLC, but to be honest, it was the most beautiful place I had been to in my life. I thought Denver was incredible with the mountains off in the distance, but after arriving in SLC, I truly saw what it meant to have mountains in your backyard.

At last, we arrived at the Guest House and I settled into my room. I was able to talk to some of my potential cohort members and learned where they were from, their passions, and why they were interested in the U. Each individual had a unique story to share; all were passionate about helping students and were in the hunt for a program that would help them accomplish their goals. After going to dinner and continuing to meet more of the individuals at the U, I soon started to realize this is where I wanted to be. Going into Friday interviews, I was extremely nervous. I woke up that morning and knew this is where I wanted to attend grad school. I knew my only chance was to land an assistantship to help with the expenses.

Interviews went surprisingly well. Everyone was energetic and truly cared about what I wanted to get out of the experience. I remember struggling to rank the positions because I knew each position would provide me with an awesome opportunity! Leaving interviews, I was excited to hear what the future would hold. I knew I wasn’t guaranteed a position, but I knew this was where I was meant to be. I knew the University of Utah would provide me with the most opportunity to grow as an individual and as a professional. All of the faculty and staff were extremely welcoming and promised an experience unlike any other. After a full semester in the program, I can tell you, I have only been thrilled with my experience. All of the professors are truly there for your success. Coming from an engineering background, I was afraid to attend office hours because I never felt adequate in my abilities. In the ELP program, I love going to office hours to get honest feedback on my papers and to simply to get to know my professors as individuals. They inspire me and push me to my full potential. I am confident that I made the right decision to attend the University of Utah!

I know the U isn’t for everyone, but from personal experience, it has exceeded all of my expectations. I love being on campus, working with students, and researching topics that truly interest me. On the weekends, I love to escape to the mountains, which are just a few minutes from campus. Hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and skiing are all activities that help me keep the work-life balance that is ever critical in the hectic world of student affairs!

My advice going into Preview Days is be yourself and be open. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you make your decision. On campus interviews are just as much about you finding your fit as it is the school choosing you. I can remember asking current students random questions about their long distance relationships, the apartment hunt, the rigors of the program, churches they attend, etc. These were all questions critical to helping me make my decision; all questions that eventually helped me land here at the U! You never know what opportunities will open up or how your life can change by a few days on campus. I am so glad that I kept an open mind during my visit. My experience has been incredible, and I am so glad to call myself a part of the incredible family here at the University of Utah!

Justin Felton is a first-year student in the ELP program, with a graduate assistantship with Fraternity and Sorority Life. Justin graduated in 2014 from Purdue University in Indiana with a degree in Civil Engineering.

ELP Students Win at AIMHO 2014

First-year students Clayton Bracht, George Guardado, Julie Olaf, and Cody Garrison at AIMHO 2014.

First-year students Clayton Bracht, George Guardado, Julie Olaf, and Cody Garrison at AIMHO 2014.

Last weekend eight current ELP students attended the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers (AIMHO) 2014 conference in Logan, UT.

We are proud that four of those students won awards! Congratulations!

Hot Topics Presentation Winners:
Chris Miller and Julie Olaf, Assistant Residential Education Coordinators, Housing & Residential Education

Graduate Student of the Year:
Sarah Gutierrez, Assistant Residential Education Coordinator, Housing & Residential Education

Graduate Student Social Justice Action Award:
Kegan Walker, Assistant Residential Education Coordinator, Housing & Residential Education

AIMHO is one of many professional organizations that ELP students get involved with, representing professionals and students in housing in the intermountain region.

Why I Chose Student Affairs: Avoiding “Too Late”

By Kyle Inselman

The first time I worked the Freshman Barbeque at the University of Colorado Boulder, no sooner than when I stepped in line for hamburgers did an incoming first-year approach me and declare, “I need to meet you.”

It was my last summer of college, and I was an Orientation Leader supporting new students in their transition to campus. Earlier that day in our Inclusive Campus Climate workshop I came out as a student leader in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community, and my openness clearly impacted this first-year student. She came out to me as we stood in the barbeque line, and although she had nothing specific to ask, she said she needed to meet me, talk with me, and be reassured she wouldn’t be alone as she began this chapter of her life.

My own freshman year was filled with similar moments. I remember my heart pounding when I visited the GLBTQ Resource Center and met an adult whose full-time job was to help students like me when facing the often-inevitable discrimination that LGBTQ students experience on many campuses. For the first time since leaving to go to school out-of-state, I didn’t feel alone.

And though I often found faculty and classmates misunderstanding my identity, I always knew I could count on my community at the Resource Center for the encouragement to keep going and referrals to resources that helped me stay successful. Even one small tip to apply to a scholarship ended up changing my life by helping me stay in school full-time through graduation, and when I was hired at the Resource Center I paid the support forward by creating a detailed online guide for transgender students at my campus.

Through my job at the Resource Center and at Orientation, I was thrilled to help students like the first-year at the barbeque find their community and get connected to the resources and campus centers that would support them. After meeting many LGBTQ students who found out about student groups or the Resource Center as juniors or seniors—“too late” in their words—my goal was to help as many students as possible avoid the problem of “too late.” I focused heavily on communications and outreach during my undergraduate years, and now that I work in Career Services, I get to continue that goal by helping students learn that it’s never “too early” to access our many resources for success in and after college. There’s nothing like seeing the smile that crosses a student’s face when they finally find their niche, and it’s pretty darn cool that I get to create those moments as part of my career.

Kyle Inselman is a first-year student in the ELP program, with graduate assistantships in Career Services and coordinating ELP’s social media. Kyle graduated in 2011 from the University of Colorado Boulder and is a proud Forever Buff! When not catching up on Netflix documentaries, Kyle can be found practicing yoga or hiking the beautiful Wasatch Range.