Over the past decade, Cal State Fullerton education graduate students have encouraged Latino youth in Maywood and other southeast Los Angeles cities to attend college.
This year, students will celebrate the 10th annual Maywood Education Fair on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Rose of Lima School in Maywood. CSUF alumnus and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon ’82, ’94 (B.A. political science-public administration, M.A. political science) will deliver welcome remarks.
Graduate student leaders for this year’s event are Gabriela Dupree, Chrishelle Perez, Ashley Thomas-Williams and Raymond Lu.
The education fair started as a student’s class project to forge a higher education-community partnership with Maywood’s underrepresented students, who historically, did not go to college. The effort evolved into a service-learning project for graduate students in the master’s degree program in education-higher education. The students coordinate, implement, fundraise and evaluate the annual education fair, held in coordination with the College of Education, the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL) and the city of Maywood.
Since 2009, the fair has educated more than 4,000 southeast Los Angeles County students and their parents about the college admissions process and financial aid, said Eugene M. Fujimoto, chair and associate professor of educational leadership. In 2018, with nearly 1,000 people in attendance, the program awarded 29 scholarships, valued at $26,815, to 29 college-bound students, Fujimoto said.
The education fair features workshops in Spanish and English for youth of all ages and their parents on a range of topics relating to higher education, as well as a resource fair with representatives from colleges, universities and community organizations.
The Maywood Education Fair also has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the NASPA Region VI Innovative Program Award. The award is presented to an institution and/or group that has implemented an innovative program that furthers the growth of students, results in improved service to students, and/or enhances life on campus. The award will be presented to Cal State Fullerton at the Nov. 4 NASPA Western Regional Conference in Portland.
“As a result of the Maywood Education Fair, parent and guardian participants consistently show increased understanding of their role in their children’s academic success,” said Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, associate professor of educational leadership.
Since its beginning through 2013, the Maywood Education Fair gained increasing credibility within the community, resulting in a 4.4% increase in students attending college from Maywood. From 2000 to 2017, there was a 4.7% increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees or higher obtained. Additionally, the faculty-student research has been published in Urban Review and Association of Mexican American Educators Journal.
Survey results conducted by students also show that 86% of attendees learned about the benefits of attending college, 70% learned how their community and background make them a strong college applicant, and 77% learned about financial resources they could utilize to attend college.
“The Maywood Education Fair is a program that has furthered the growth of students and improved services to the community,” Gutierrez Keeton said. “The program addresses a demonstrated need for our master’s degree students to bring their stated commitment to social justice to life as they prepare to be student affairs educators.”