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Sun Devil Generations | ASU News

September 30, 2022

A Latino Family’s Source of Struggle and Pride, and How ASU is Changing Its Scope to Better Serve Learners

Six-year-old Mateo Parsons makes a pitchfork with his tiny hand every time he sees Sparky, and his blue eyes sparkle as he approaches his grandfather, Joe Alvarado, whom he calls “Auntie”.

Little Mateo’s university projects are defined: he should attend Arizona State University, like his mother, his uncle and his Tata before him.

But her experience will be different from that of her family members, who have faced challenges ranging from trying to get into college and financial barriers to peer acceptance and seeking advice on the campus. A lot has changed since Tata became a solar devil in the early 70s.

This year, a record number of Latino students are enrolled at ASU. More than 30,000 on campus and U.S.S. online students identify as Hispanic or Latino. In June, the Department of Education named ASU a Hispanic-serving institution, meaning that at least 25 percent of undergraduate students enrolled are Hispanic.

That wasn’t the case when baby boomer Joe Alvarado graduated with his undergraduate degree in 1976. His two children, Emiliano Alvarado, a Gen Xer, and Adriana Alvarado-Parsons, a millennial, attended ASU. Like their father before them, their paths to college were neither traditional nor easy.

The first of the family

In the late 1960s, a strike in the copper mines hampered Joe Alvarado’s quest to go to college.

Disgruntled miners in Globe, Arizona, where 72-year-old Joe Alvarado is from, shut down in 1968. He had no money to attend college, so he went to community college instead, before transferring to ASU. The Chicano movement made him an outspoken voice on campus, but he said he struggled to find support or guidance in college.

“I got very little help,” said the retired school principal, who earned his bachelor of arts in elementary education in 1976 and his master of arts in educational administration in 1981 at the ‘KNEW. “I didn’t even know I had a counselor at ASU. Honestly, it was a little intimidating.

It’s a common struggle for many Latin American students to follow the path to college and stay there.

“Her story is a perfect example of why educational outreach was created,” said vanessa ruizAssistant Vice President for Outreach Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU. “We’ve made huge strides to ensure that there are no more stories like this.”

Ruiz leads efforts to break down barriers to college at ASU. It takes the form of a range of programs including WeGrad, a digital program designed as a self-paced self-discovery program that provides college-readiness tools so families can essentially “graduate together.” It connects families with resources and strategies to help students succeed in college and beyond.

“This will allow ASU to help even more underrepresented and underserved families support their students on their path to college success,” Ruiz said.

Another big deal is the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program, which is a middle and high school early outreach program that includes all family members in the college journey. In an effort to increase the number of first-generation Arizona students qualified and ready to enroll at ASU, the nearly 40-year-old program has helped thousands of students succeed and pursue their passions.

From a new century to a pandemic: Alvarado’s children go to ASU

The heart, courage and passion of international correspondent and presenter Ann Curry inspired Alvarado-Parsons, 38, to study journalism. There was also another draw: Curry is mixed-race, just like her. Alvarado-Parsons wanted a degree from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication but, as a high school student in Flagstaff, Arizona, she noticed ASU was absent at events. university recruitment. Frustrated, his father intervened.

“I just made a call,” said Joe Alvarado, who was the Flagstaff Unified School District administrator at the time; his appeal in 2001 prompted recruiters to come to the scene. “There were a lot of kids who wanted to go to ASU, but I still noticed the lack of access.”

Her daughter attended Cronkite School summer camp and stayed at Manzanita Hall for a week, but she said it was overwhelming.

“You don’t realize the magnitude of ASU until you get there. The rural kids gravitated toward each other because we didn’t know the town or the college,” said Alvarado-Parsons, who earned a bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism from the Cronkite School in 2005.

Efforts are being made today to make this transition easier for students, including the fact that every high school in Arizona now has an ASU Admissions Representative.

“Today, we are working closely with high schools and high school counselors across Arizona to try to educate students not only about basic admissions criteria, but also about the right tools and resources,” said the Associate Vice President of Admissions. Matt Lopez.

And it’s not just awareness of the K-12 market that’s changed. The university is evolving to better serve learners throughout their lives.

“We would like anyone who wants to learn for personal or professional growth to be able to establish a lifelong relationship with the university and take advantage of our offerings,” said Maria Anguiano, Executive Vice President of Learning companywho leads ASU’s initiatives and programs that reach learners from pre-kindergarten through life’s post-retirement stages.

Ruiz and Lopez both agree that technology is key to reaching both lifelong learners and college-bound students, especially Hispanics – studies show that Latinos have one of the most rapidly increasing rates of internet use among various demographic groups. And during the pandemic, online options have given many people the ability to pursue a college degree or non-degree educational offerings remotely.

Emiliano Alvarado, who was already a graduate of NAU, decided to invest in his career during the pandemic and earned his online marketing certificate from ASU in 2021.

“The ASU program was designed for working professionals, and they supported recipients in their professional placement after completion,” said the 45-year-old, who is an administrative assistant at the track industry program. course from the University of Arizona.

“I wanted to attend a public school – not only was ASU a family legacy, but the program also happened to be the best fit for my higher-level professional development.”

Generation Alpha and Reaching Future Hispanic Sun Devils

Mateo Parsons and his 9-year-old sister Anisa are part of Generation Alpha, a generation that should be the wealthiest, most educated and most technically advanced. Everything from their clothes, dating sites, and amenities will likely be easily accessible.

“While Generation Alpha will have technological wearables, more connectivity and a growing social media presence, we need to meet them where they are, provide digital assets and spread information quickly through advanced technology and to financial literacy,” Lopez said.

That’s good news for mom Alvarado-Parsons, who looks forward to breakthroughs in reaching all Latino students, not just her own.

“As a parent, I’m going to expect that we won’t have to travel and attend a taste of camp because we’ll be enjoying it from home; I can experience the process with them. This will empower my children and their generation.

Top photo: Three generations of the Alvarado-Parsons family pose for a portrait: (clockwise from top) siblings Emiliano Alvarado and Adriana Alvarado-Parsons; Anisa Parsons, 9; husband and wife Joe Alvarado and Paulette Welch; and Mateo Parsons, 6, on Sept. 25 at his home in North Phoenix. Grandparents Paulette Welch and Joe Alvarado completed their bachelor’s degrees (1971 and 1976, respectively) and master’s degrees (1976 and ’81) degrees in education at ASU. Mother Adriana Alvarado-Parsons earned her ASU journalism degree in 2005; and uncle Emiliano Alvarado received his ASU digital marketing certificate in 2021. Will Anisa and her brother Mateo follow suit? Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News