The Broad College of Business has a proven track record of striving to create a welcoming environment for all. Continuing in that tradition of inclusion and diversity, on Oct. 25, the Native American and Hispanic Business Students of MSU hosted the eighth annual Latinx College Day.
The event welcomed nearly 150 high school juniors and seniors from both Grand Rapids and Lansing area schools. The Latinx attendees received valuable advice from Broad students in NAHBS and from MSU faculty, including Juan Flores and Kevin Leonard. Flores and Leonard’s talks touched on the importance of a college education as well as strategies for success, starting with high school and beyond.
Leonard, senior program director of Multicultural Business Programs at the Broad College, has played a part in this annual event since its inception in 2012 and explained that programs like this are critical for high schoolers.
“They expose youth from underserved populations to college and the resources available to support them in college,” he said. “Many youths from underserved populations worry about being admissible. At programs like Latinx College Day, they hear from staff and students who have similar academic records and experiences that build their confidence in applying.”
This year’s event marked Flores’s first time being involved with Latinx College Day. He served as the keynote speaker and used the opportunity to share his experience as a first-generation Latino college student.
Flores, who is currently the coordinator of the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions at MSU, was passionate about being involved. “There is a huge success rate disparity at the college level for Latino students,” he said. “Events like this expose students to the college environment and put them in contact with current students who are from similar backgrounds, which helps them see that college is a viable option.”
Flores is a two-time Spartan graduate, earning an undergraduate degree in criminal justice in 2005 and immediately following that up with a master’s degree in social work, which he finished in 2008. He shared with the students what he calls the “Blueprint for Success.” In his presentation, Flores explained 10 key points for success strategies, such as eliminating distractions, staying positive, taking responsibility and being grateful.
“The journey to success will not always be fun,” he said. “It will test you. Will you fold, will you quit, or will you take charge and get it?”
Applying to and attending college can be a daunting prospect for high school students, especially for underserved students. Events like Latinx College Day change a dream into a potential reality.