NSights Blog

Latino Research Center: An exciting time with exciting new steps

With a desire to construct interdisciplinary bridges with the campus, the Latino Research Center readies for a new year

I can say that in large part it has been my own identity and experience as a Latinx First Gen student on campus that ignites my passion to serve at the Latino Research Center (LRC). By far, it is spaces like this that help create a sense of belonging for many Latinx students where they can express their true concerns safely and have a healthy dialogue with others with similar experiences. These spaces and centers are crucial to the academic success and retention of Latinx students especially on campuses that are prominently white.

One of my primary goals taking on my position with the LRC early this spring was to reactivate the Latino Student Advisory Board (LSAB) club by providing the reconstruction of a welcoming space. LSAB is a club primarily composed of University undergraduate students with incorporated ideas and support from facility and prominent community leaders, who together strive to enhance the Latinx community in Nevada through public outreach, academic and political advocacy. It has been a semester long process now getting to know the students' needs and their ideas for the board. Elections for the 2019-2020 LSAB E-Board were just completed and I am very excited to see what these students will accomplish during the next academic year.

So much is going into the reconstruction of the LRC from furniture and space renovations, to new supporting staff and rebranding. The LRC now has Marie Recinos-Lopez as Administrative Assistant who transferred from TMCC with six years of experience working with TRIO Upward Bound Programs. We have had the helping aid of our Graduate Student Worker Sergio Trejo during this entire time of transition for the LRC. I myself have the privilege of being in the position of Coordinator in Education, Research and Outreach with a background of ten years working closely with students and the Latinx community. The LRC Steering Committee composed of four distinguished University faculty are really to thank for the hand-off position where the LRC sits today, ready for a new Director.

Without a doubt, this supporting staff is crucial to the vitality of the LRC on campus. The space renovations to create a hub for students to collaborate and study are all part of a larger vision. The new LRC Director, Dr. Julie Lucero, who is set to take on her new position in July, will lead this vision. A vision with a desire to construct interdisciplinary bridges and collaboration, as she has done in her own research and community work. We hope to see more students become aware of the LRC and LSAB and find ways to collaborate in using the renovated space for their own academic excellence.

It is an exciting time for the LRC to focus on moving forward from a time of transition. It is personally my focus to listen closely to the needs and shifts of our Latinx students and comunidad (community). The LRC is here to serves as a nexus between the Latinx community and the University. Its mission is to foster research, student achievement, faculty collaboration, advocacy and outreach in a manner that best meets the educational needs and goals of the State of Nevada and best honors the intellectual and cultural capital of the Latino presence in our state.

Check out the LRC's new website and stop by to see the renovated space:
Latino Research Center
Edmund J. Cain Hall Room 100

Diego Zarazua