Jeffrey Scharoun, a second-year graduate student in the higher education and student affairs administration (HESAA) program traveled to Chicago, Illinois, over winter break to gain a greater understanding of the latest and most cutting-edge practices in LGBTQ support services.
With funding from the Graduate Student Association and the Robert A. Davis Endowed Scholarship, Scharoun attended the annual Creating Change Conference. Held at the Hilton Chicago and hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force, the conference drew approximately 4,000 attendees.
“Everywhere you turned there was something to learn,” said Scharoun. “I am so grateful to have come to know such brilliant colleagues and am honored to stand beside them in the fight for social justice in our academic communities.”
An active member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Scharoun was one of many higher education professionals from all over the country that attended the conference. Discussion topics ranged from creating safe spaces, trans-inclusion, student rights, and homelessness.
Scharoun is interested in the advancement of underrepresented groups—students of color and LGBTQ students, in particular—in higher education.
“Being an LGBTQ change agent runs through my veins and it is advocacy through the lens of student affairs that allows me to do my best work,” said Scharoun.
The Higher Education Administration Department encourages students to attend and participate in conferences, events, and networking socials as an integral part of their education.
“Students who are able to participate in professional development events are able to discuss the latest trends and issues in higher education and meet current professionals in the field,” said Amy Wilson, assistant professor of higher education administration and Scharoun’s adviser and mentor. “All of which can help shape or influence their career paths.”
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