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Accomplished TMCC Authors 2017: Part 1

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Natalie Brown Image

Natalie Brown, Ph.D., Director of Academic Advisement, Transfer Center and International Student Services, with Kyle Dalpe, Ph.D., Interim Dean of Technical Sciences.

The Academic Advisement team at Truckee Meadows Community College is a leading-edge participant in both academic research and practice.

They will be highly involved with the spring Region 9 Conference of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno. Region 9 encompasses Nevada, California and Hawaii. Many from the team will present sessions according to their individual knowledge area expertise.

“Every staff member, peer advisor and every grad intern will be presenting on different topics at the NACADA Regional conference at UNR at the end of March,” said Natalie Brown, PhD, Director of Academic Advisement, Transfer Center and International Student Services.

She added that all Academic Advisors at TMCC have attained a master's degree or higher.

“These are highly educated folks who are aware of the latest emerging trends, and based on their research and daily work are content experts,” she said. “TMCC is getting known for exciting ideas from the advising area.”

Natalie Brown’s Work is Published

The University of Utah has published Brown’s 2016 dissertation, “Understanding transfer student bachelor’s degree attainment: using Bourdieu’s theory of social reproduction.”

Her work starts from and expands on the theory that four types of both monetary and non-monetary capital lead to a perpetuation of the same classes and groups of people attaining their four-year degrees generation after generation. Categories of capital include the following:

  • Economic capital
  • Cultural capital such as appearance and dress
  • Symbolic capital including titles or degrees
  • Social capital such as networks of contacts

“How can we break that cycle and raise these types of capital for those at the community college—many times first generation students—so that they can get a bachelor’s degree if that is their goal,” Brown said. “My work covers adjustments to institutional policies at two-year colleges that result in the encouragement and support of students who’d like to transfer and complete their bachelor’s degree.”

Another of Brown’s articles is one she co-authored with Teresa Pratt, Assistant Director of the University College, University of Utah. It is about transitions possible for students between vocational training to academic degrees. “Vocational Degree to Bachelors: a program to improve access to four-year degrees for all community college students,” is published in the NACADA Clearinghouse.

“Some people don’t think they’re college material, but students can gain confidence in completing a technical degree successfully and then move into a liberal arts area or transfer degree,” she said. “Some of their classes may not transfer, but many will, and they can add their hands-on skills and soft skills to their new academic track. It’s about making the most of helping students become fully aware of what their options can be.”

Brown said that she hopes her work will be a catalyst for change at higher education institutions, especially to make transfer students feel most welcome and provide them the tools to succeed all the way to completion of a bachelor’s degree.

NACADA Journal Publishes Ohanna Turcios-Ramirez’s Article

Ohanna Turcios-Ramirez is also an Academic Advisor, celebrating two years at TMCC in January. In 2016, the NACADA Journal published her review of a recently released book about the stories of undocumented students and their families.

For her article, she provided an overview of Truax’s 2015 book, “Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream.”

“What I enjoy most about writing academic articles is the process,” Turcios-Ramirez said. “It’s the process of researching, learning new information and being able to share that with others.”

Reading the book and writing about it was a journey for her.

“I’ve always been a curious learner and the opportunity to be published gave me a reason to learn more on ‘Dreamers’ and individuals who are undocumented—a topic in which I had minimal knowledge prior, but it’s very important to know in order to better serve students in higher education,” she said.

Academic advisors typically are not aware of, or are not permitted to ask college students their immigration status, unless the student volunteers the information in conversation.

“It’s important to understand the stories of those that we serve, and through writing this academic article, I was able to read further into what it is to be a ‘Dreamer,’” she said.


Coming up in the Accomplished Authors Series

  • Perla Petry
  • Staci Miller
  • John Coles
  • Brianna Soloski
  • Tara Connolly
  • Sione Lavaka
  • Viki Kappel Spain
  • Joseph G. Gonzalez
  • Chandra Healy

Contributions to TMCC’s Authors Series are Welcome

Additional contributions for the authors and presenters series are welcome. If you have a recent publication or presentation to share with the TMCC community, please let us know.