The forum is one of several annual gatherings in California that are designed to offer underrepresented minorities a series of panels from volunteer professors and consultants to answer questions about graduate education. Additionally, graduate school recruiters arrived to present students with information on graduate school opportunities and answer questions about specific programs.
Paul A. Rivera, associate professor of economics at Cal State Channel Islands, said in a keynote address that in order to achieve a goal, you must have a goal; or, to put it into the words of his father, an automobile mechanic, “You don’t go anywhere in neutral.”
The forum began with an introduction by Chancellor Michael V. Drake, who promptly handed the microphone to Rivera.
“We might be here to atone for the sins of an intolerant society,” Rivera began. “But I go out of my way not to go with these opinions. They are not productive. I believe we are here to take the strength and ability here in this room and apply them to society when it is needed.”
Rivera interspersed his address with stories of his youth as a first-generation immigrant from El Salvador and of his hard-working parents.
After the speech, the attending students and graduate candidates were invited to choose between several 50-minute workshops. Among the topics were: “How to Select, Apply to, and Prepare for Graduate School,” “How to Finance Your Graduate Education” and “How to Decide: If, When and Which Graduate School.”
While the 10 a.m. workshops were held in the Bren Events Center, attendees were ushered across the street to the Student Center at 11 a.m. to participate in more diverse workshops.
Forums began at 3 p.m., which were separated by school, such as a business and management workshop and a life sciences workshop.
The event was primarily funded by registration fees by the graduate-program recruiters, but also in part by the National Science Foundation and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation grant.
“We are compensated by the attendance and enthusiasm of those in the audience,” said visiting professor Daniel Bennet. Many professors were members of the UC and Cal State system, which oftentimes collaborate together.
“It ran real smoothly,” commented Allen Sabio, coordinator of Professional Development in the Graduate Division at UCI. This was Sabio’s first event-planning opportunity at UCI. According to Sabio, UC Irvine was chosen to host the event because “it’s time to showcase what we have.”
Kim Adkinson, the UC representative for the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education, was pleased with having the event at UCI. “We were able to make this an indoor event, which was nice because usually the space demands requires us to hold it outside. Fortunately, the UC Irvine Student Center was big enough to hold it indoors.”
Christine Mallon Hanson, the state university dean of Academic Program Planning for the CSU system, added, “It demystified this very unfamiliar process. The forum was … high quality, but the setting here [was] great.”
Despite the high attendance, there was a varying degree of opinions on the event.
“The workshops needed more direction or people guiding you,” commented Rudy Salinas, a third-year history major at UCLA, referring to the maze of conference rooms on the first floor of the Student Center where the workshops were held.
“There were more colleges here than I would have researched
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