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Making the Most of Diverse Opportunities at NASPA ’10: Emily Roh

February 2, 2010

Hello! My name is Emily Roh and I’m a first year master’s student at University of Maryland. I’m originally from Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA with my Bachelor of Arts in Asian American studies and my Associate in Arts from Pasadena City College.  After graduating, I worked professionally a few years before realizing that I wanted to be a student affairs professional and headed back to school.  It’s been an unusual journey, filled with unexpected twists and turns, but I have enjoyed the ride and am excited to be here today!

As an undergrad, my Asian American Studies classes were a major catalyst for my racial identity development, which led to an enduring interest and passion for diversity and social justice issues. After graduating, I further developed through a few leadership development programs where I also worked in non-profit/conflict resolution and taught at an alternative residential school with a nationally diverse student population in a small tourist town in Colorado.  I also worked with low-income, potential first-generation college students in a TRiO program in Orange County.  In each of these experiences, I struggled (and I still struggle!) with how to translate theory into meaningful practice. For example, I was inspired by the critical pedagogy ideas in Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but translating that to effective teaching practices was harder than I ever imagined.

Currently, I am interested in how student affairs administrators who work on diversity issues make difficult decisions.  How does one decide when to use their voice or stay silent?  How does one balance conflicting interests among administration, students, and self?  I eventually hope to study how higher education institutions’ cultures change, and how we can be more effective and intentional about shaping those changes.  I hope to connect with scholars and practitioners with similar research and professional interests, in order to develop my research ideas.  One way I hope to accomplish this is through NASPA’s Scholar Mentor Program, which amazingly offers a meeting with Dr. Joi D. Lewis, a scholar-practitioner whose work aligns closely with my own goals.

NASPA offers some great workshops that fit my various interests.  For example, I plan to sign up for the pre-conference workshop “Creating Social Justice: Best Practices and Lessons Learned” and Monday’s session “Ethics and Leadership: Making Choices for Social Justice,” two session where I can hopefully have some interesting conversations with people about my research ideas.  I’m also considering doctoral programs, so I will likely attend “To Ph.D. or Not: Issues to consider during and after the decision.”  I also hope to attend some workshops on ethical and spiritual development, supervision skills, and topics on special populations, such as veteran students or students with disabilities.  As you can see, I have a wide range of interests, which matches well with the diverse offerings at NASPA’s Annual Conference.

NASPA’s Annual Conference is a perfect venue for networking.  Just by attending sessions, I will talk to people who share my professional interests.  Additionally, quite a few universities and organizations offer receptions where current students and alumni can mingle and get to know one another.  One of my cohort mates, who currently works at NASPA for his graduate assistantship, is organizing the NASPA Community Fair, which sounds like a great and fun opportunity to find out more about different organizations and opportunities within student affairs.

I am honored and excited to be a Golden Key NASPA Annual Conference Scholarship recipient and look forward to sharing my adventures with you all!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. raja permalink
    February 9, 2010 1:36 pm

    Hey Emily!
    Thanks for this post! I look forward to meeting you at the many APIKC events and celebrations at NASPA!

    Raja 🙂

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