UNK Office of Multicultural Affairs director, 308.865.8127
“Remembering the Past, Living the Present, Preparing for the Future” is the theme of the fifth annual Cultural Unity Conference set for Friday, March 30, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Open to all high school students, but specifically tailored to under-represented minorities, the conference begins at 9 a.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union. Students from 40 high schools have been invited to the event.
According to Juan Guzman, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the purpose of the Cultural Unity Conference is to promote cultural diversity in higher education.
Guzman said that due to the under representation of certain social classes in colleges across the country, the student organizations within the Office of Multicultural Affairs organized the conference to expand cultural diversity on the UNK campus.
“Through a series of workshops, meetings and discussions, we hope to recruit and inspire high school students from under-represented groups to consider and commit to a college or university-level education. We hope to convince these students that the obstacles to a college education can be overcome,” Guzman said.
Students will choose which of six different workshops they wish to attend during the conference. The first workshop is “Immigration Issues,” which deals with admission, scholarships and financial aid offered at UNK. “Who Do You Think I Am?” regards racism, discrimination and stereotyping. The third workshop, “Explore Your Options,” covers alternatives to a four-year education, including military service and community college. “Cultural Fair” is broad look at world cultures. The “Need Money for College?” workshop is specifically about financial aid and other means to raise the necessary funds for college. The final workshop, “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous,” invites student leaders of the UNK community to talk with the conference attendees about college life.
In between the workshops, attendees will have an opportunity to hear two keynote speakers during their meals.
The first keynote speaker is the seminar leader for the University of Nebraska’s Corporate Manager Certification program, Aaron Davis. Author of three books, including “10 Minute Truths,” and a member of the National Speakers Association, Davis is an established public speaker.
In addition to working in various sectors including government, agriculture, medical, mortgage, sales, insurance, banking and education, Davis is also a former Husker football player, and was a member of the 1994 national championship team.
The second speaker is Nancy Montanez-Johner, under secretary for Food and Nutrition Consumer Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Montanez-Johner also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Commodity Credit Corporation. She was appointed by former Gov. Mike Johanns to serve as director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in March 2004.
A UNK social work graduate, Montanez-Johner served as the HHS Western Service Area CEO in Gering from 2002-2003, and from 1999-2002, she was a Service Area Administrator for HHS in Lexington. Before that she worked in the Professional Partner Program at Region III Behavioral Health Services in Kearney from 1995-1999.
After the closing ceremonies for the conference, a dance will take place from 7:30-10 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union.
For more information, or to register, contact Juan Guzman, 308.865.8197