Juan M. IzaguirreSeconday Education
My favorite part was being heavily involved with our campus life. As a student, I involved myself with the Mexican American Student Association and Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Inc. Through these organizations, I was inducted into the Mortar Board National Honor Society and won Jr. Student Leader of the Year through the Vice Chancellors of Student Affairs office. I also worked with undergraduate recruitment in the Office of Admissions, specifically working with multicultural recruitment. Through these ventures, I had the opportunity to meet colleagues from diverse backgrounds, have sit-down lunches with Dr. Griesen and other executive leaders. These connections and opportunities are some that I still highlight many years later.
Upon graduation, I immediately pursued my Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration. While my passion lied in teaching and pushing students to attend institutions of higher education, I learned that I liked the recruitment of students to college and assisting in their navigation of the college campus much better. My career has included working in departments of Multicultural Affairs, Undergraduate Admissions, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Academic Advising, and currently, Leadership and Service-Learning where our mission is to invest in students to become change agents.
Although there was a small population of students of color on the UNL campus, the impact came in the form of how small group of individuals could have to make change on the campus. In working with other organizations, departments, and key individuals, I learned the importance of networking with individuals from various backgrounds that had similar visions as I did in order to accomplish tasks. Moving from the Midwest to south Florida, this networking across diverse groups comes has remained true and most importantly, it is also understanding the intersectionality of the diversity and its many layers that individuals come to the table with. UNL taught me best practices and set a foundation in doing so.
Aside from visiting with your academic advisor, visit the career center starting your freshmen year. While some will say its early, I have interacted with organizations that want to work with first year students to retain them throughout their undergrad career and hire them permanently upon graduation. You don't want to wait until your senior year to visit them. Become friends and take in all the tips that are provided by the professionals.