Today@Sam Article

SHSU Staff Member Earns Prestigious NASPA Selection

Sept. 26, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins

Brenda FernandezBrenda Fernandez, associate director for First-Year Experience at Sam Houston State University, has been selected as a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Escaleras Institute scholar.

Fernandez is one of nearly 40 individuals selected and one of just two in the State of Texas slated to begin work for the program at California State University, Fullerton in October. This professional development institute encompasses research and mentorship and is designed for Latinx/a/o higher education professionals seeking senior level roles. 

“I am excited to cultivate my scholarship and hone my leadership skills as a student-focused administrator at this institute,” Fernandez said. “As a first-generation graduate from a low-income, immigrant family, I have found that the phrases, “échale ganas” and “ponte las pilas” do not provide the guidance and applicable tools required to navigate professional and educational settings. It is for this reason that I am intentional in creating a sense of belonging and meaningful experiences for our students.”

NASPA has publicly dedicated itself on addressing the underrepresentation of Latinx/a/o higher education professionals, especially those at the senior level who can serve as mentors. Program participants will build essential competencies with a cohort of Latinx/a/o higher education professionals, including Fernandez, who are dedicated to leading in a vibrant, diverse, global, and socially just higher education environment.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Brenda’s passion and experience on our SHSU team overseeing our First-Year Experience programs,” said Kay Angrove, director of SHSU’s First-Year Experience.

“Over the last six months, I have truly enjoyed working with our peer mentoring program and relied on our then-assistant director Victoria White’s expertise on how to run the program,” Fernandez said. “I engaged with UNIV 1101 stakeholders to increase student enrollment in the class all while adjusting to my new role.”

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