Underrepresented Student Experience Preview Day

Engage with faculty, staff, and current Zags who understand, can relate, and support the experiences many of our underrepresented and first generation students at Gonzaga University.

Virtual Event in March 2021

This event was designed to help prospective first generation students and students from underrepresented backgrounds to discover and experience what Gonzaga University has to offer. Explore the drop-downs below for more detailed information.

Underrepresented Student Experience Preview Day Schedule: 

Deena J. González, Ph.D.

Provost and Senior Vice President

Dr. González was named Gonzaga’s first provost and senior vice president in the spring of 2019. She is charged with guiding the transition to a provost structure at the University, which will provide a more fully integrated student experience by bringing together the academic and student development divisions.

Prior to coming to Gonzaga, Dr. González was the associate provost for faculty affairs and professor in the department of Chicana/o, Latina/o studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles. She served in a number of academic and administrative roles at LMU, including as chair of the department of Chicana/o studies, which she led through its first formal review and accreditation.

Named one of the 50 most important living women historians in the United States by the Sophia Smith Radcliffe/Harvard project, she was honored at a special session of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) in Philadelphia in April, 2019 for her work mentoring historians.

Born and raised in New Mexico (14th generation), Dr. González earned a bachelor’s degree history/anthropology/liberal arts from New Mexico State University and both a master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkley. She was the first Chicana to complete the doctoral program.

Her cultural background was the stepping-stone for her dissertation research, which became her first book (“Refusing the Favor,” Oxford University Press, 1999). She is a co-founder of the Native/Chicana academic organization, MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social), a mentor to several scholars of the American West, and a passionate teacher-scholar, honed during her first academic position at Pomona College (1983-2001).

She has published more than 50 journal articles, book chapters, and working papers, as well as the first and only book series exploring the lives, histories, and experiences of Mexican-origin women, “Chicana Matters,” (University of Texas Press). Many of these publications have been instrumental in co-establishing the fields of Chicana/o history, Latina/o studies and Chicana studies.

Learn more about Gonzaga's academic philosophy from Director of Admission, Erin Hays.


Panelists will include: 

  • Dr. Yolanda M. Gallardo, Dean, School of Education
  • Dr. Max Kwenda, Director of Institutional Research  
  • Phillip Tyler, Crime Prevention & Educational Officer, Security  
  • Dr. Carla Y. Bonilla, Associate Professor, Biology Department
  • Tara Hiller, Counselor, Health & Counseling Services (Advocate for under rep/first gen)

Building Relationships in Diverse Gonzaga Environments (BRIDGE) is a Social Justice and Leadership Institute designed for students who identify as first generation*, low income, students of color, LGBTQ+, and/or undocumented.  BRIDGE two major components: (1) a summer pre-orientation program that takes place right before New Student Orientation, and (2) a first-year peer mentoring program that continues during the academic year. We are excited to share with you the many benefits and opportunities BRIDGE can provide to you!


We want you to get to know the people at Gonzaga! Ask us anything! These are interactive panel discussions featuring current Gonzaga students from various academic areas.


Choose a session that resonates with you. We will utilize breakout rooms during this session. 

Gonzaga SACNAS: Building a Strong BIPOC Community for STEM Majors

Laura Diaz-Martinez (she/her/ hers), Assistant Professor, Biology 

 SACNAS is a professional organization dedicated to empowering and supporting BIPOC students and professionals in STEM fields. STEM students at Gonzaga recently started a student chapter for this professional organization on campus. Learn how Gonzaga SACNAS is creating an inclusive community of students who work to support and empower diversity in STEM. 

We’re Here: Navigating a PWI and Working Through Imposter Syndrome 

E. Cassandra Dame-Griff (she/her/hers), Assistant Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)

 We will discuss the complexities of being an under-represented student at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) as well as strategies for navigating these spaces. We will also examine imposter syndrome and self-doubt, with a particular focus on shifting our understanding away from self-doubt and self-blame and toward an understanding of systems of power that work to exclude marginalized individuals from spaces such as higher education.

Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center

Matthew Barcus (he/him/his), Program Manager for Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center

More information to come

First Generation College Student Success Tips

Annmarie Caño (she/her, hers), Dean, College of Arts and Sciences  

Long before she became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Annmarie Caño was a first-generation college student from a working class background. On top of that, her identities as the daughter of an immigrant and a Puerto Rican at a predominantly white and private university made the adjustment even more challenging. Based on these experiences and the lessons she learned, Dean Caño will share concrete strategies for a successful and happy college career.



Learn about Gonzaga's scholarship and financial aid opportunities with Director of Admission, Erin Hays and Dean of Student Financial Services, Jim White. 


Thank you for joining us! Please reach out if you have further questions. 



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