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Wayne State University\'s Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies to host Inaugural Latino Undergraduate Research Conference as part of its New College to Career Program

December 1, 2009

DETROIT, MI - On Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, the Center for Chicano-Boricua-Studies (CBS) at Wayne State University will host its Inaugural Latino Undergraduate Research Conference featuring poster board presentations resulting from community-based, service-learning projects created by students participating in the center's College to Career (C2C) Program.

CBS is pioneering an effort to address retention and graduation rates among underrepresented and first-generation college students at WSU with the C2C Program, a two-year professional and leadership development initiative.

According to a Pew Hispanic Center's report, titled "Latino Youth and the Pathway to College," fewer than one in four (23.2%) Latinos graduate college, which is just more than half the national average (43.4%).

C2C's goal is to increase graduation rates for students at WSU by connecting CBS Scholars with established professionals. The program uses a multi-faceted approach, combining career mentorship, community-based research and service-learning with professional development and graduate school preparedness, which helps to bridge the gap between the academic and professional worlds.

"For many years, many people have been working very hard to assure access to higher education for underrepresented students," said CBS associate director Ethriam Cash Brammer. "However, with the C2C Program, we're hoping to move the conversation from mere ‘access' to ‘quality access,' which includes student success, persistence and, ultimately, graduation and career placement."

Students enrolled in the CBS C2C Program are required to take a course titled, "Learning About Your Community Through Research," taught by CBS faculty member and assistant professor of sociology, Nicole Trujillo-Pagán. Through field placements within Matrix Human Services, one of the largest nonprofit human services organizations in Detroit, students are able to learn important job skills, build professional networks and study issues that directly affect their communities.

With her eyes now on attending law school, third-year political science major, Elsa Angeles, will be presenting her study, titled "No le entendí: The Challenges of Parent and Teacher Communication in a Head Start Setting," as part of the conference. "The class is really interesting. And we're doing a lot of good in the community," says Angeles.

"And my professional mentor [Chair of the Governor's Commission of Spanish-Speaking Affairs, Lawrence Garcia] is great. He's giving me a lot of information about my career, like how to improve my LSAT scores. And he's introducing me to a lot of other lawyers and judges," she adds.

As part of the conference proceedings, Robert Thomas, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will deliver a welcome on behalf of the university. And a keynote address will be given by Elena Herrada, a community activist and scholar, who is an alumnus of the CBS Scholars Program and now teaches in the Social Justice Program at Marygrove College in Detroit.

The program will run from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Faculty/Administration Building (F/AB) on the WSU campus.

For more information about the Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies and the C2C Program, please visit, or contact Ethriam Cash Brammer at 313-577-4378,

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.