Photo of NASPA panel

At a recent conference for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Oregon Tech Diversity and Belonging Assistant Director Shawni Cayetano-Ramos presented at a panel session about Oregon Tech's Leadership and Diversity Scholars Program and the new leadership development curriculum created for Oregon Tech students. The NASPA conference is for student affairs professionals and hosts over 6,000 participants and exhibitors.

Cayetano-Ramos said NASPA is the leading association for student affairs professionals' advancement, health, and sustainability.

"They serve a full range of professionals who provide programs, experiences, and services that cultivate student learning and success in concert with the mission of our colleges and universities," she said. "During this year's annual conference, I was given the privilege to serve as a panelist/presenter in a session titled 'Engaging College Students in the Leadership Learning Process Through Building Identity, Capacity, and Efficacy.'"

During the panel, Cayetano-Ramos outlined the partnership/collaboration between Oregon Tech's Student Involvement and Belonging (SIB) and the Financial Aid Office to oversee the Leadership and Diversity Scholarship and the 60-plus scholars based in Klamath Falls and Portland-Metro, and at sites at Chemeketa Community College and Boeing.

"Before 2021, the scholarship required that students do 90 hours of community service and a quick check-in with a SIB staff member," Cayetano-Ramos said. "In 2021, SIB built up the requirements and created an intentional curriculum that would lead to student success, where the scholars can develop their professional and personal skills to succeed. "

NASPA Session
NASPA Session

The panelists introduced the process-based understanding of leadership by providing language and tools for engaging in the leadership process for all involved. The panelists were asked about their experiences and expertise using the "Engaging in the Leadership Process: Identity, Capacity, and Efficacy for College Students" text.

"The curriculum of Oregon Tech's Leadership and Diversity Scholars Program is built around the scholars thinking about identity, leadership, different perspectives, and more," Cayetano-Ramos said. "They are now required to attend a meeting with SIB to have intentional conversations about leadership, self-development, and identity. They must also attend three workshops, activities, and events that are around diversity, cultural engagement, and leadership and write a reflection on what was learned while attending these opportunities. Lastly, they are required to attend a reception for all leadership and diversity scholars so they can network and build connections with others."

Based on Cayetano-Ramos' experience as a leadership educator, she and the other panelists were able to offer grounding concepts of leadership and examples illustrating the complexity of culturally relevant leadership learning.

"I highlighted the successes and pivotal changes Oregon Tech has done to create culturally engaged students as it relates to the leadership roles they bring to our campus community and the successes they will have after their time at Oregon Tech," Cayetano-Ramos said.

Audience members at the panel thanked the panelists for highlighting the importance of creating culturally competent students in the STEM field and sharing what Oregon Tech has been doing to push the needle.


Panelists left to right: Shawni Cayetano-Ramos, Assistant Director of Diversity & Belonging, Oregon Institute of Technology; Dr. Amber Manning-Ouellette, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus; Dr. Brittany Davis, Leadership Learning Research, Florida State University