Two Chaminade students, Eri Leong ’23 and Andrew Ancheta ’21 were accepted into the 2020–2021 class of NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP). Hosted by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in Higher Education, the highly competitive fellowship gives students from traditionally underrepresented and historically disenfranchised communities a chance to learn more about careers in student affairs and higher education.
Students apply together with a mentor from their home university, and spend one year participating in on-campus mentorship, professional development events and scholarship opportunities.
For her mentor, Leong chose Allison Jerome, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Chaminade. “She seems to be brilliant at everything she does, and if I were to become a student affairs professional, I would want to embody that brilliance of hers as much as possible” says Leong when asked about her decision. “I chose Dean Allison because I look up to her immensely and I know she has an incredible amount of information to guide me with.”
Ancheta had similar praise for the mentor he selected, Joseph Granado, Chaminade’s Director of Student Activities and Leadership. “It is easy to tell that Joseph genuinely wants to see all of his students succeed,” says Ancheta. “He knows how to connect with them, how to understand them, and most importantly, how to challenge them to reach for the stars that they desire. He is a great inspiration to many.”
Leong and Ancheta both felt connected to the organization’s mission: to increase the number of historically disenfranchised and underrepresented professionals in student affairs and/or higher education, including but not limited to those of racial and ethnic-minority background; those having a disability; and those identifying as LGBTQ. And they both see student affairs as a potential long-term career path.
“I’ve always loved helping people and student affairs is a profession that has the joy of getting to do that everyday,” says Leong. “I’m drawn to the possibility of having a profession that allows me to assist the next generation in flourishing into the best possible versions of themselves.”
“My lifelong journey is one of self-improvement,” explains Ancheta. “I am really just hoping to gain the tools and skills that will help me be successful in improving lives. I want to walk with others on their journey toward self-discovery, internal reflection and professional development.”
Leong and Ancheta will have access to the entire Student Affairs division at Chaminade and gain a better understanding of what a profession in student affairs entails. They’ll also participate in the regional NASPA conference that will be held in November.
Although the conference will be virtual, they’re both excited about the networks they’ll create with students from other universities.
“I’m looking forward to meeting and connecting with other NUFP members,” says Leong. “People-oriented is a characteristic I heavily consider myself to have, so with every new experience I’m always looking forward to the people I get to meet and learn from.”
Similarly, Ancheta says: “As someone who was born and raised in the beautiful state of Hawaii, it is not too often that I hear fresh perspectives. Hearing new stories from new people is a great way to continue the development of my own personal outlook on life situations, social issues, etc.”
In the meantime, they’re just excited to continue learning from their mentors and gaining new insight into student affairs as a profession.
“As [Joseph’s] NUFP mentee, I am looking forward to learning more about all of the skills, techniques, and methods that he has picked up throughout his years as a student affairs professional,” says Ancheta. “I have absolute confidence that I will continue to learn from him.”