Assistant Dean for Advising Olga Rubio, who advises Latino students in the College Office, is trying to bridge the gap between two cultures in order to keep Latino students at the University. Rubio came to the University this summer to replace Augusto Hacthoun, who left for a position at another university. Rubio will concentrate on the academic and cultural needs of the approximately 200 Latino students enrolled in the College. Rubio said her major focus will be on retention of Latino students, who have among the highest attrition rates of any group on campus. Rubio said Latino students drop out more frequently because of several factors -- including strong family ties which students -- many from the Southwest and Puerto Rico -- are reluctant to sever, cultural isolation, and socio-economic concerns. Rubio began her efforts by sending letters to the parents of Latino students over the summer to make them aware of her presence. "I received many calls from parents telling me how important it is to consider the cultural perspective in academic advising," Rubio said. Rubio said she is also trying to work with leaders of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, the student group for Chicano students, and La Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latinos Americanos, the student group for Latino students, to make them aware of her efforts. "I want to know the key players and to get them to get the word out that I am here," Rubio said. "I'm on a big mission to get everyone in here." Rubio said that she will not be involved with recruiting Latino students or faculty because she wants to focus on academic concerns of College students. "I was hired as an academic advisor and I want to be true to that," Rubio said. Director of Advising in the College Diane Frey said last week that Rubio will collaborate with Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs and Advising Janice Curington. Frey said Rubio will be able to direct students to resources in the area because she knows the Latino community through her work with the United Way. Carmen Maldonado, president of Latina women's sorority Sigma Lambda Upsilon, praised Rubio as a concerned adviser and an asset to the campus Latino community. "She is not just out there to be a loud voice," Rubio said. "She is very encouraging and what she expects from us, as Latino students, is that we come together." Maldonado said Rubio has made a concerted effort to get to know the members of the Latino community by making connections through Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, the Latino fraternity, and ACELA, and MEChA. "She has a lot of connections and a lot of ideas," Maldonado said. "She wants us to use her resources. It is nice to have someone understand you, who can relate to you and who knows your culture."Comments powered by Disqus
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