The Minority-Serving Institution Student Council (MSISC) logo

The Minority-Serving Institution Student Council (MSISC) hosted its second annual August Retreat on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. The retreat taught members about the history of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). The retreat also helped to encourage team-building with new MSISC members and fostered discussions with panelists and community partners. The MSISC had the opportunity to learn and grow as a council before the start of the school year.

The morning started with Dra. Blanca Rincón, an assistant professor of higher education at UNLV. Dra. Rincón taught the council about the history of MSIs, HSIs, and AANAPISIs. Dra. Rincón has done and continues to do research to advance educational equity for historically underserved and marginalized college students in STEM and specifically Latina/o/x college students. Because of her area of research, the council furthered their understanding of how MSIs, HSIs, and AANAPISIs came to be and where UNLV fits in as an MSI and dual AANAPISI-HSI.

Richard Clark, Interim Associate Vice President for Student Life, and Dr. Keith Rogers, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, came to speak to the council about efforts being made to further the university. They shared their visions and their visions’ relation to the council.

Pictured: Dr. Keith Rogers, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

The council learned from a group of panelists about how to organize during the first annual MSISC retreat. This year, the MSISC learned about turning organization into action. Members had the opportunity to hear from community activists Devon Lewis-Buchanan, LMSW. and Kenadie Cobbin-Richardson about what they did to take action in their organizations. The council also heard from activists here at UNLV, Tyler Parry, Ph.D. and Mark Padoongpatt, Ph.D., who spoke about the historical context of activism and what taking action at UNLV looks like.

Pictured from left to right: Mark Padoongpatt, Ph.D., Kenadie Cobbin-Richardson, Tyler Parry, Ph.D., and Devon Lewis-Buchanan, LMSW

The MSISC also welcomed new council members for the first time:

  • Kesha Westbrooks:
    • Kesha is a senior Social Work student at UNLV. She is a member of the Minority Serving-Institution Student Council, BSW Representative for the University Association of Social Work Students, and Phi Alpha Delta Social Work Honor Society. She also works with the Rebel Rebound Program and the Alliance of Non-Traditional Students. Kesha is a proud winner of UNLV’S Dr. Thomas E. Wilson Outstanding Scholarship and Community Service Award. She was recently accepted to the Rebel Grad Advantage program in preparation for attending graduate school. She plans to use her education along with the lessons she learned from overcoming many personal challenges to make a positive impact in the lives of others and the community she loves. Kesha aspires to continue her academic journey, becoming a woman and leader that UNLV, her community, her parents, mentors, friends, and especially her two beautiful daughters can be proud of.
  • Továh Gordon:
    • Továh is a born-and-raised Nevadan who will be entering her second year in the CSIEME program for my M.Ed. here at UNLV. Her undergraduate degree is in Ethnic Studies in Visual Culture and she has interests in art history, cultural studies, critical race theory and its connections to education/curriculum, multimedia studies, and Chicana/Latine studies just to name a few. She is also a GA with IGES and will be a part-time instructor in the fall for WMST113. After her master’s, she plans to continue her education in a doctorate program based in Ethnic Studies.
  • Vanessa Booth:
    • Vanessa is a rising senior in the UNLV Honors College studying for her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a double minor in Brookings: Public Policy and Journalism. Vanessa currently serves as the Editor-In-Chief for the UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press, is an OREO Fellow for the UNLV Office of Undergraduate Research, and is a Student Policy Researcher for Brookings Mountain West & The Lincy Institute. Vanessa hopes to attend graduate school to attain a dual MPP/J.D. degree to work on the intersection of policy & law.

The MSISC is looking forward to another year!

Pictured from left to right: Trey Curtis-Brown, Daniel Perez, Kristine Jan Espinoza, Kesha Westbrooks, Ava Cariño, Továh Gordon, Keren Jean-Charles, and Dionna McDonald