Master's Students Promote Higher Education
Maywood Educational Fair Oct. 20
Oct. 16, 2012
Cal State Fullerton higher education graduate students promote that attaining a college degree is possible through the "Mi Sueño, Mi Futuro" (My Dream, My Future) educational fair Saturday, Oct. 20, for K-12 students and families in the city of Maywood. The CSUF graduate students in coordination with the College of Education's Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership are partnering with Maywood to organize the community event.
Saturday, Oct. 20
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Noon – 2 p.m. Workshop sessions
Maywood Community Center, 4801 E. 58th St., Maywood, 90270
Workshop sessions will be held for K-12 students, adult learners and parents focusing on outreach and information for underrepresented and underserved students and families. Topics include financial aid, requirements for college and the importance of college. The event also features guest speakers, including CSUF education faculty members and Maywood city officials.
CSUF educational leadership graduate students will share with K-12 students and their families how obtaining a college degree is possible. In 2011, more than 200 residents attended and participated in student-designed interventions targeting all ages of students in efforts to create a college-going culture. "The purpose of the fair is to provide the community with tools and resources for students and their families to increase the number of individuals attending college," said Michelle Gonzalez, a student co-leader of the project.
In 2009, the Department of Educational Leadership and its master's students in the higher education concentration established a partnership with the city of Maywood. Since then, each fall new students in the graduate program contribute to the service-learning project by coordinating, designing, implementing and evaluating the Maywood Educational Fair. The Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership also conducts research to explore community and school leaders' views of how they see their responsibility to address issues surrounding the low levels of educational attainment.
Currently, 39 graduate students are participating in this year's Maywood Project as part of their coursework for the master's degree in education-higher education concentration program. As part of the project, the university students serve on student-led committees to coordinate sessions for event attendees in grades K-12, as well as for adult learners and parents. They coordinate fundraising and public relations efforts, and this year, formed a new historical-socio-political committee to increase students' knowledge of Maywood and issues affecting the community. Education faculty members, alumni and other volunteers also help to support the event. In addition to Gonzalez, the project's other graduate student co-leaders are Sergio Hernandez, Deborah Lopez and Ashley Mendoza.
"The experience of working on this project has definitely reminded me of how much underserved communities desperately need resources and how important it is for me to give back to my own community," said Gonzalez of Los Angeles. "As a Latina, a first-generation college student and daughter of immigrant parents, I owe it to the next generation of students to provide them with the same support I received or needed. I have a commitment to helping underrepresented students succeed."
"This project is a great opportunity for our students to learn what it means to put theory to practice in a community-based setting. We are grateful to the city of Maywood for partnering with us in this effort," said Eugene M. Fujimoto, CSUF assistant professor of educational leadership and faculty adviser of the Maywood Project.
The city is a largely Latino, underserved community situated in a low-income area of Los Angeles County. According to public school data, about 48 percent of students from Maywood and surrounding southeast cities graduate from high school, and of those, only a small percentage pursue higher education. "However, we know there are many highly motivated and capable students in Maywood who want to earn a college degree. Through our project, we hope to inspire youth and provide the support and information they need to attain higher education," Gonzalez said.