Category Archives: Articles

2017 MRN Award Winners

With a little over a month left until convention, MRN is excited to congratulate the recipients of the 2017 MRN Awards!

MRN Outstanding Initiative for Multiracial Awareness Award

is presented to

Jenifer Logia

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for exemplifying an innovative approach to exploring the unique experiences of multiracial students or professionals

Jenifer Logia is an Outreach Coordinator and Management Fellow for the County of San Mateo, and is also the President and Founder of the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with a B.A. in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies.

As an undergraduate student, Jenifer served as a board member for the Mixed Student Union at UCLA for one year, and as co-director of the student organization for two years. Through Mixed Student Union, she helped organize the first and second annual Mixed Heritage Conference at UCLA, which was featured in the Los Angeles Times in 2013, and had over 100 attendees in 2014.

As President of the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association, Jenifer coordinates with UCLA alumni, students, and staff to plan events for alumni of mixed heritage/multiracial identity, and provides support for current undergraduate students.

Jenifer works in the County Manager’s Office in San Mateo County, engaging predominantly low-income residents in a variety of community development initiatives in the Bay Area.

MRN Professional of the Year Award

is presented to

Charlene Martinez

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For exemplifying significant achievements and contributions to their institution(s) regarding the promotion and encouragement of multiculturalism

Charlene Martinez is a multiracial Asian-Latina American, educator, mother, and cultural worker.  She serves as the Associate Director of Integrated Learning for Social Change within Diversity & Cultural Engagement and is affiliated with the School of Language, Culture, and Society at Oregon State University.  Her current work includes developing innovative and transformative learning programs which integrate the arts and social justice education inside and outside of the classroom.  She is the co-founder of a multiracial retreat, student drop-in group, and oral histories project at Oregon State University. She received her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in multicultural counseling from the Community-Based Block Program at San Diego State University, and her bachelor’s degree in global studies with an emphasis in culture and ideology from UC Santa Barbara.  Charlene’s professional experiences include work in cross/multi-cultural centers, and student life programs at Sacramento State, Mills College, Contra Costa College, UC San Diego, and as well as a non-profit, the Rockwood Leadership Program.

MRN Research of the Year Award

is presented to

Dr. Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero

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For exemplifying cutting-edge research devoted to the enhancement of multiracial education

Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero is an assistant professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the Ohio State University.  He received a Ph.D. in Education (with an emphasis in Higher Education & Organizational Change) from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked as a Graduate Student Researcher for UCLA’s Office of Residential Life and served as a Graduate Fellow in UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics. These experiences integrated his background in Human Biology (BS, Michigan State University) and Student Affairs Administration (MA, Michigan State University). He has worked in multicultural affairs units across several institutions, including New York University and the University of Arizona. Marc’s research interests focus on diversity and social justice issues in higher education and student affairs, with specific attention to advancing and nuancing understandings of multiraciality. He has given over 70 presentations on best practices and research findings at conferences around the country and has co-authored over 25 articles and book chapters focusing on diversity related issues. Marc is active in several higher education associations, including being a past MRN Co-Chair and currently an editorial board member for ACPA’s Journal of College Student Development and NCORE’s Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.

MRN Graduate Student of the Year Award

is presented to

Victoria Malaney

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For exemplifying significant promise and potential to exceed in Higher Education as well as an interest in promoting and encouraging multiculturalism

Victoria K. Malaney is Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration focusing on Higher Education in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Victoria’s research interests focus on multiracial college students, intergroup dialogue, race, and student activism. Victoria is a research assistant for Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi and works in the Dean of Students Office as a Special Assistant to the Deans supporting students in personal and academic crisis. Prior to graduate school, Victoriawas an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader for two years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from UMass Amherst. Victoria is the Current Chair of the American College Personnel Association’s Multiracial Network (MRN). She was formerly the Scholarship and Resources Coordinator and has been in involved with MRN since July 2012.

Recommended Book: Mixed Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories

By: Annette Girion  -MRN Scholarship & Resources Coordinator

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Many of our schedules cram up around this time of year. In my own experience, since the beginning of the academic year, I have progressively grown busier, spoken less to my family, had fewer gatherings with my friends, and have completely stopped doing any of my hobbies such as reading for pleasure. But with the holidays comes a break from all of those factors contributing to my ever full schedule: school, work, and everyday responsibilities. I have never had to hustle so much as I have within this last semester, so I am going to take advantage of my small break like I never have before, and reconnect with everything I have been neglecting including my hobbies, my friends and family, and myself.

A great tool for these kinds of reconnections is a book that I discovered during my search for multiracial student resources. It is called Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories, edited by Andrew Garrod, Robert Kilkenny, and Christina Gómez and it was published in 2013. The compositions in this book are by multiracial college students and take us through their identity development processes, recounting specific people and moments in their lives that their identities had an impact on. The personal stories cover their journeys as multiracial students who have struggled with their identity, felt in between two races like they don’t belong, and who find appreciation for the multiple perspectives built into their lives. As I read through the stories of multiracial students coming to terms with their racial and ethnic identity, I was surprised to discover how shockingly similar some of these students’ experiences were to my own. Each essay served as a reminder of my own experiences growing up in a multiracial household, and reading the book with the holidays approaching, put a focus on traditions. I cannot help but reflect on the differences and similarities of my two cultures.

A few years ago on Thanksgiving, I had a unique experience of my Japanese family and my American family coming together for the first time. My cousin from Japan was visiting and we brought her to our Thanksgiving potluck. I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness because I was unsure how to split my attention and worried about my cousin having a good experience as her English was not fluent. It ended up being as relaxing and enjoyable as any other Thanksgiving, except I got the added pleasure of having both sides of my family who live continents apart in one room, getting along and learning from each other. A few years later, just days from now, I get to have both sides of my families together again, with my aunt and grandmother from Japan visiting. I am grateful to be able to spend time with both sides of my family and if I could change one thing, it would be to have more time with them; time that is demanded from me by my many commitments. I realize that I am lucky to not only have two such differing cultural experiences because of my mixed race, but that both sides of my family accept each other and can enjoy each other’s company.

The holiday season is a time we get the opportunity to spend more time with our families and reconnect with ourselves. Just like Mixed was able to provide me with a look back at one of my identity realizations during the holidays, consider it as companion stories to help you with your reconnection to your own identity and appreciation for your cultural celebrations and traditions, whether it is one or many.

You can get a preview of the book here: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00H2G2KBW&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_4A3mybPQZRYZM

Consider the book, Mixed for reconnecting with yourself, with your friends and families.

Five Ways to Increase Multiracial Discourse on Your Campus

By Adam Ortiz  
Since joining the field of Student Affairs in 2008, I have found one common trait among all of the institutions for which I have worked: at each, there are multiracial-identified students (and, generally, staff and faculty as well) who desire to connect with others who share similar experiences. Here are five simple ways to increase multiracial discourse on your campus:
1. Put yourself out there. If you identify as multiracial, talk about your experiences when appropriate. If you are involved with groups like the Multiracial Network or if you are interested in scholarly research on multiracial identity, be open about it when the opportunity presents itself. You never know who else in the room has a shared experience or knows a student who is looking for support.
2. Connect with colleagues. If you do not work closely with your Cultural / Diversity Student Center (or campus equivalent), get to know the staff and students who work there. Oftentimes, these staff will be in the know about particular students who are interested in multiracial identity or even in starting a multiracial student group. Attend events and offer your support where needed and if wanted.
3. If one doesn’t exist, start a multiracial student group on your campus. And don’t feel like you need to be complex about it! Sometimes just creating an informal space for students to come together will provide much-needed and much-appreciated solidarity. You can start by making posters, asking your colleagues to spread the word, and providing snacks. See an article co-written by MRN Chair, Victoria Malaney & Kendra Danowski for tips!
4. Host a dialogue on related multiracial topics. If you don’t have the time to commit to starting a full student group, consider facilitating a dialogue or dialogue series addressing topics pertinent to multiracial students. This is even more effective if you can find a small group of students to help develop the dialogue and advertise. Topics that I have seen work include family, friendships, romantic relationships, privilege, and Whiteness.
5. Create room for multiracial discourse in social justice trainings. Whether the conversation is focused on microaggressions, affinity spaces, or intersections, find ways to ensure that multiracial identity is visible. There are numerous social justice-related topics that pertain to multiracial students (monoracism, passing and privilege, and racial fluidity, for example). Creating opportunities to process them will help students to think critically about their identities and likely feel more connected with their peers.
If you have other ideas, please share them with us!
acpa.mrn@gmail.com

The Stanford Daily: Blending Together

Check out this recent article on mixed race students at Stanford University documenting responses to the lack of a multiracial student association on Stanford’s campus.

“At Stanford, this rise in the mixed-race population may finally create a multicultural community in which mixed-race students feel they can belong.”

The “finally” makes me wonder about the idea of sense of belonging, which is a widely researched topic in higher education.  Do multiracial students need to have an association to feel like they belong?  An answer to this question might be complicated (at least we hope it wouldn’t be a simple “yes” or “no” answer) by the fact that different students might feel a sense of “belonging” differently, depending on a wide range of factors contingent on the identities (not just racial) students hold and the ways they make meaning of these identities in varying contexts.

This is a great article for increasing visibility of multiracial college students and to hopefully generate some important discussions on the complexities surrounding these issues.

NYT: Counting by Race Can Throw Off Some Numbers

Another interesting piece by the New York Times.  This story focuses on the complexities of “counting” multiracial people, with specific emphasis on the Department of Education’s procedures (which directly relates to our work in higher education).

NYT: More Young Americans Identify as Mixed Race

Interesting piece in the New York Times today about younger folks identifying as multiracial.  The Multiracial and Biracial Student Association at University of Maryland, College Park is the main focus.