Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We've reached the end....

Hey Bloggers!

Well, this will be my last blog for the semester and I just wanted to thank everyone for their continued support. I have really enjoyed keeping a blog this semester and have learned so much through this very different style of writing and reporting.

Since this is the first blog I have ever kept, I have really appreciated the freedom it has allowed me in sharing with my readers the important issues that deal with things related to border education.

Not only have I enjoyed the freedom of creating such an original, free-ranged reflection on such issues, I have also appreciated the opportunity to deliver what I feel is important and newsworthy information to the public.

Photo taken by: Jay Rochlin
St. Andrew's Children's Clinic

The topic of education has always been a great interest of mine and I look forward to continuing my search in the progression and improvements of education occurring at the border.

Some highlights of the semester have been being able to interact and get to know all of the people that have contributed to the different clubs, programs, sororities and fraternities that represent the Hispanic student body here at the University of Arizona.

As for the future students who will join the Border Beat staff next Spring, I wish you the best of luck. Take advantage of the opportunity you have been given to use your journalistic abilities and judgment to choose what YOU think is newsworthy and important for people to read. This is your blog-- so make it yours!

I have just really enjoyed this semester and hope to start a blog of my own someday having to do with dance or performance! Again, thank you for reading!

To view some of my highlights this semester, see below:

Click here to read a story I wrote for The Cursor this semester covering our class visit to St. Andrew's Children's Clinic in Sonora, Ariz.

Click here to read the release introducing the best student-run online magazine award winner Border Beat.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Meet: UA Hispanic Alumni Club

Hey bloggers! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

This week I wanted to look into a club here on campus, the UA Hispanic Alumni Club, that is centered at promoting undergraduate and graduate students for their achievements, as well as providing financial aid to underprivileged Hispanic students, and making available the resources and networking for students seeking interest in the business world.

Its members are offered two different types of scholarships:

*UAHA Scholarship Application
*High School Counselor UAHA Scholarship Letter

In order to receive such a scholarship, students must exemplify a firm understanding of the Hispanic origin and community. Since 1966, there have been 1,368 scholarships awarded, worth a total of $3,084,944.

Receiving strong support from the Arizona Alumni Association, UAHA communicates with the President's Office, Student Financial Aid, the Hispanic-Chicano Resource Center, and the UA Foundation to reach out to its students in a helpful and effective way.

The UAHA is very involved in the community as it reaches out to communities across the country. Members have all been involved in the following: served on advisory boards, governing bodies, held public office, and have volunteered for civic causes.

UAHA's activities are vast and include:

*2006 Hispanic Heritage Day
*2006 Portrait of Excellence Dinner
*KUAT TV Hispanic Alumni Video
*2006 Diversity Expo
*Day of the Dead
*2006 Homecoming Photos

If you are interested in becoming a member, click here.

All former students are able to become a member if they have already completed 30 UA credits or more. If you have completed less than 30 units, you are able to become an associate member.

For all information, you can call 520 626 9327 or email UAHA at uaha@al.arizona.edu.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

UA's Latin American center

Photo taken by: Danielle C. Chapot

Welcome back and thank you again for your visit!

This week I came across a really neat site while searching the Web that has to do with a Latin American center here on campus.

The UA Center for Latin American Studies
has 100 faculty members and more than 120 courses available for its students. Its main concentration is focused on Brazil, Environmental Studies, Mexico, Border Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Women's Studies.

Joint with Arizona State University's Latin American Studies, the center is filed under the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences provides research programs and school outreaches.

Located in the Marshall Building, the Center for Latin American Studies contributes curriculum units, books, videos, and a vast online resource center that is given to K-12 educators, teachers, and university professors.

Some of the centers excellence and achievements include the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies Program's outreach grant for three years now.

The following are some reasons to major in Latin American Studies:

*Variety of courses available for students
*Spanish language skills
*Interesting speakers
*Study abroad opportunities
*Opportunities to gain internship experience
*Exposed to a interdisciplinary setting
*Financial aid support
*Camaraderie and personal aid and attention from students and teachers

The center also offers a strong online curriculum that provides complete units available to its students. Some of the topics that are available for concentration for the online curriculum include: Mariachi music, the Tango, Carnaval, and Day of the Dead.

If you are interested in learning more about the center, click here.

To check out its video collection, click here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How to learn Spanish...

A How To: How to learn Spanish

Welcome and thanks so much for your visit! This week I chose to run my blog a little differently and have created a "How to" guide that explores some of the ways that you can best learn the language of Spanish-- for you.

In a discussion I held with UA assistant professor of Translation and Interpretation Jaime Fatas, he shared with me what a challenge it was to have taught himself English as a second language when he first moved to the U.S.

In our discussion many interesting points were discussed having to do with the best ways to learn Spanish, or any language.

Here is what Fatas had to say.

“Education is something we take for granted [and] access to education will accelerate the process,” he said.

In his opinion, Fatas thinks that the most beneficial way of learning Spanish is learning by influence. This includes submersing yourself in the language—hearing it, seeing it, speaking it, and living it.

“You have to piece the whole chart together and that’s very complex,” he said.

“That’s almost like reinventing the language,” he said.

Fatas’ overall message is simple: You learn by doing.

“If you learn by immersing yourself culturally only by books and cultural materials- you are missing a big part of the picture,” he said.

Immersion is much more interactive than learning from a book, he said.

The threshold is so high with books, that people who are not very proficient at reading will have a really hard time learning such a language if learned by a book, he said.

Fatas thinks that the ideal situation would be to be able to learn the language with a book in hand, and at the same time, and are able to exist in a rich cultural context, as well.

“That’s the best of both worlds,” he said.

With that said, below I have provided you with, I hope, some helpful ways to learn the language.

If you are the type of person that enjoys sitting in a classroom and prefers learning in a visual type of way, there are some great books out there to begin delving into your quest to learn the language. One book, in particular is called "Platiquemos FSI Basic Spanish Course."

If you are more of a visual learner, there is an excellent online workbook called Quia. In this workbook, you are able to learn a language while practicing it by writing, speaking, hearing and seeing through its various exercises.

Click here to visit Quia.

And of course, the best way to really learn a language is to surround yourself not only around it, but in it. So, talk to people, keep your ears and eyes open, visit places, dine with people, and embrace the culture-- first-hand!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How well are high schools in Tucson preparting their minority students for college?

Photo taken by: Danielle C. Chapot

Hey and thanks for reading!

This week I wanted to focus on a really important issue of how high schools in Tucson, Arizona are preparing their minority students for college enrollment.

At Tucson High Magnet School located at 400 N. Second Ave., launched a pilot guidance program in 2001 to concentrate on college advising to its minority students.

First off, I want make clear what the ethnic breakdown is at THMS for the present time:

Hispanic: 59%
White: 29%
African American: 6%
Asian: 2%
Native American: 4%
Photo taken by: Danielle C. Chapot

Post-Secondary School Counselor at THMS, Marissa Ostroff said "I believe that a firm foundation of motivation and persistence to degree completion begins from actively engaging minority students in the learning process early through the school years."

"As students progress to high school, educators must continue to reach and to motivate these students guiding them toward the road to college encouraging and challenging coursework," she said.

According to an article Ostroff wrote entitled "Tucson High Magnet School Pilot Program: Tucson, Arizona," the purpose and focus of the school's college counselors are to maintain the following with an extra focus on minority students:

*to raise its students' aspirations and standards
*to improve the success in all coursework
*to to analyze and work to change the status quo in an effort to raise the level of achievement in students
*to reduce the level of pressure and stress in the college application process
*to find the "best college fit" for each student
*to raise the bar and the expectations of each student
*to aid with scholarship searches, testing information, college visits, and financial aid opportunities

Serving an extremely diverse student body, THMS has grown from 2,100 students to 3,000 students within the past five years. The number of seniors who have already been accepted into a college has risen by a lot from a "consistent range of approximately 83% between 2004-2006 with high emphases on minorities," Ostroff wrote.

Of this 83 percent, 50 percent has been admitted into a two-year college and 33 percent of the 83 have been admitted into a four-year college.

"The elements of repetition of college entrance information, counselor availability, motivation and demonstration of the process are critical factors to college advancement," Ostroff said.

"The focus is to not only be admitted but to remain active and graduate," she said.

To contact THMS, click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Meet Gamma Alpha Omega Hispanic Sorority

Welcome back and thank you for reading!

This week I have decided to focus on profiling a local sorority here at the University of Arizona to give my readers an opportunity to read about something very important: how the University of Arizona has incorporated and highlighted the achievements and recognition of its Hispanic learners, into its student body.

So, meet Gamma Alpha Omega Hispanic Sorority. Gamma Alpha Omega was founded in 1993 at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Arizona by five college women.

Their goal was to push forward the Hispanic body through activity and challenged learning. The sorority targets common-day social issues in the Hispanic community, as well as targets the accomplishment and success of the academic distinction of its members.

"We consider ourselves a mulit-cultural organization and accept women of all backgrounds and
ethnicity's," said Jessica Aguirre, a current active member of Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority Inc. Beta Chapter since 2003.

"We were formed for Latina women as a support system, to give encouragement to these women to get an education and to give back to the Hispanic community," she said.

"I think the major thing we have accomplished is being a support system for minority women. "

"This semester we have 7 active members, which is very small compared to a traditional sorority, but by being this small gives us a chance to really get to know one another."

The sorority's mission is also to seek, motivate and serve the Hispanic student body to get out into the real world and be leaders. The sorority has reached to nine different states and there are currently fifteen chapters on various campuses.

Our main philanthropy is the John Valenzuela Youth Center in
South Tucson, a predominately Hispanic community. Through the center we are
often found playing games with the kids or helping with homework. This
semester my two sisters

This year, sisters Nicole Brown and Rachel Mendivil created an outreach program called "Studying with a Wildcat," which is designed for the sorority philanthropy John Valenzuela Youth Center. The tutoring program enables children from the John Valenzuela Youth Center to come to the University of Arizona and familiarize themselves with a college campus.

Aguirre said it is designed to "give them a feel of what the UA is about, let them know there are people who look like them at the UA, and let them know it is possible to get an education no matter what their background is."

The program takes place in the Integrated Learning Center (ILC) every Thursday evening from 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Amongst numerous accomplishments, Gamma Alpha Omega was "officially recognized" as "an incorporated entity in the state of Arizona" in April of 2001.

Its founding mothers are:

Michelle Seanez
Amy Alvarez
Patsy Guardado
Clara Lopez
Michelle Mendoza

Executive Board Members, include:

Vanessa Ruiz: President
Zayoni Torres: Vice President
Jessica Aguirre: Sergeant at Arms and Treasurer
Yomaira Pena: Standards
Wendy Ayala: Public Relations
Karina Mendoza: National Representative
Rachel Mendivil: Traditions

To view upcoming events occurring in the sorority, click here.

To contact the sorority, click here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.

Photo taken by: Danielle C. Chapot

The mission of the Lambda Theta Phi chapter is to support Hispanic students in their successes towards graduating.

The chapter fosters leaders, opportunities for networking and higher academics amongst the college environment. Its members strive to create an impact on its community through the ties and services each member works hard to bring to the table.

Last month Lambda Theta Phi celebrated Hispanic Heritage month with an annual event called El Grito de Lambda. At the event, a live-band performed celebrating the independence of Latin American countries.

The chapter provides guest speakers and information to make the UA community aware of its Hispanic community.

To view 2007 awards members from the National chapter have received, Click Here.

"Our fraternity on campus has made waves considering its young tenure on this university campus," said brother of Lambda Theta Phi Jose Rodriguez Jr.

"We have made strides in providing leadership through CHSA, SHPE, JUNTOS, NCLC and USFC," Rodriguez said.

"We have been leaders by taking top positions in each of the groups, setting the example for latinos and our fellow younger brothers to follow," he said.

For more information please visit the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. National Web site.