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NMSU Multicultural Research Symposium to highlight diversity, inclusion in the Borderland

The New Mexico State University College of Education’s Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology and the college’s Diversity Council are teaming up to host the 23rd annual Multicultural Research Symposium this week at O’Donnell Hall.


The symposium was started 23 years ago by Luis Vazquez, Regents professor and associate vice president for research and graduate studies, and his wife Enedina Vazquez, professor in the Counseling and Educational Psychology department. This year’s symposium, which will take place Thursday and Friday, is the first time the department and the College of Education Diversity Council are co-hosting the event.

“The symposium typically highlights our research and topics related to multiculturalism, and this year we wanted to bring in national speakers who are experts on diversity and who can speak to students and the campus community about these issues, while showcasing the work of our doctoral students,” said Ivelisse Torres Fernandez, Diversity Council chair and assistant professor in the Counseling and Educational Psychology department. “We’ve expanded the symposium this year by, instead of doing a one-day event, making it a two-day event.”

The symposium will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday with a keynote speech by Melba J. T. Vasquez, who was the first Latina president of the American Psychological Association. One of Vasquez’s first initiatives as president was developing a task force on immigration and best practices for professional mental health services.

Vasquez’s speech will be followed by a reception, poster presentations and a dance performance by Noelia de la Rosa, Jermey J. Edmonson, Trey Henderson, Taylor House and Leesah Penn.

Friday’s symposium activities include workshops and roundtable discussions, along with poster presentations and a keynote speech by Hector Y. Adames, associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and co-director of the IC-RACE, or Immigration Critical Race and Cultural Equity, Lab. Among Adames’ research interests are how racism impacts psychology and well being.

Adames’ speech will be followed by a reception, poster presentations and a dance performance by Marielena de la Rosa and Noelia de la Rosa.

Torres Fernandez said the symposium, which is free and open to the public, will show the community what the Counseling and Educational Psychology department is doing to address issues related to diversity, inclusion and immigration.

“There’s so much that has been said about immigration and the pressures of racism, it’s important that as an institution we look at the impact it is having on society,” Torres Fernandez said. “We’re located at ground zero when it comes to immigration and social justice issues that impact the community, so as a department and as Diversity Council, we need to be able to highlight not only the research being produced by our department pertaining to the topic, but also discussions about best practices and outreach efforts.”

For more information about the symposium, contact Torres Fernandez at itfernan@nmsu.edu.