UNK Today | August 2014 - page 26

By JOSH MOODY
Hub Staff Writer
KEARNEY —When Ryo
Suzuki’s plane first touched
down at the Kearney Regional
Airport he thought he had land-
ed in the middle of nowhere.
Moving from the busy buzz
of Tokyo and its more than 13
million inhabitants to central
Nebraska was a culture shock.
Suzuki was homesick in his
first few months at the Univer-
sity of Nebraska at Kearney. It
took him six months before he
began to warm up to his new
surroundings. Now, he has plenty
of positive things to say about
Kearney.
“This community is such a
nice thing for international stu-
dents,” Suzuki said. “Kearney
is a home away from home.”
Suzuki found his new home
and cured his homesickness
in a simple
manner: He got
involved.
“The more I
get involved in
campus, the less
likely I am to
be homesick,”
he said. “Being
involved with
campus and the
community is a
good thing for
me.”
Suzuki works
as a student
supervisor for
the intramurals
office of Cam-
pus Recreation
where he helps
to plan events,
officiates intra-
mural games,
and helped
install workout
equipment in
UNK’s new
state-of-the
art Wellness
Center. Suzuki
volunteers at the Study Abroad
Office’s World Leaders Camp by
teaching origami and calligraphy
skills to incoming freshmen.
Suzuki also serves as a chancel-
lor’s student ambassador. He and
other students serve as hosts for
events put on by the Chancellor’s
Office and the University of
Nebraska Board of Regents.
Suzuki said that staying
involved and volunteering offer
another asset: wisdom.
“We can learn knowledge
from the classroom, but we can’t
learn wisdom,” Suzuki said.
Suzuki, a junior business
administration major, has
grown so fond of the Cornhusk-
er State that he hopes to stay
here after graduation to pursue
a master’s degree or a career.
“I’m excited to be here today,”
Suzuki said. I”m so proud of my
past couple of years in Kearney.”
Suzuki also volunteers in the
community when he has time.
He finds it important to give
back to a community that he
thinks has given him so much
since he arrived.
email to:
By CASSIE KERNICK
Hub Intern
KEARNEY — Juan Guz-
man said he was legal to be
in the United States, but not
legal enough to be eligible for
college scholarships.
Guzman, now director of the
Office of Multicultural Affairs
at University of Nebraska at
Kearney said the predicament
that he was in years ago is
exactly the same for many
students trying to attend UNK
today. Guzman, who moved to
the United States from Mexico
at age 14, found the process of
gaining citizenship while trying
to prepare for college to be
taxing.
“I graduated high school but
I wasn’t college-prepared. I
needed basic language skills. It
takes a little bit longer to learn
that second language at the age
I came here,” Guzman said.
Even as Guzman was strug-
gling to get better acquainted
with the English language, he
knew that teaching was what he
wanted to do. Not yet ready for
a four-year university, Guzman
started out at Central Commu-
nity College in Grand Island
before transferring to Colum-
bus to finish his associate’s
degree.
“I really had an amazing
experience. I was the only
Latino living in the dorms. I
met a lot of good people when I
was there and actually became
the equipment manager for the
basketball team,” Guzman said.
After earning his associate’s
degree, he began working
as the Grand Island School
District’s immigrant educator
community liaison. While
Guzman still dreamed of being
a teacher, he did not know how
to make it a reality. Then, he
met the then-director of the
Office of Multicultural Affairs,
Rolando Diaz, and discovered
the next step.
“He helped me get the
scholarship that I now give
students,” Guzman said.
Through that Office of Mul-
ticultural Affairs Scholarship,
Guzman was able to attend
UNK and obtain his bache-
lor’s degree in education. He
was prepared to move back to
Grand Island after graduation
because the number of Latino
students created a need for
bilingual teachers.
Things did not go exactly
as Guzman had previously
planned. After learning his
supervisor Samuel Lopez
had received a grant of $1.2
million for research and wanted
Guzman to work on the project
with him, he had a tough
choice to make.
“As a recent graduate you
have to think about what can
benefit you more. I decided
advancing my education while
working for the university and
getting tuition waived in my
master’s program was more
appealing,” Guzman said.
As time and money for the
grant was beginning to run out,
another strike of fate occurred.
The position for director of the
Office of Multicultural Affairs
opened up. Guzman decided to
apply but did not get the job.
Instead, the department
created a separate position for
him: assistant director of the
Office of Multicultural Affairs.
After two years in that position,
things came full circle when he
became the director.
The office had primarily
focused on retaining minority
students. However, Guzman
wanted to recruit more minori-
ty students. Since his time at
UNK, Guzman said he has
helped raise the population of
Hispanic and Latino students
by nearly 10 percent.
“In every ethnicity, our num-
bers have grown. We are becom-
ing more diverse, we’re more
welcoming and we have a lot of
programs in place to help retain
and make sure that the students
graduate,” Guzman said.
UNK has nine multicultural
student organizations through
the Office of Multicultural
Affairs.
Anyone can join to meet peo-
ple of a similar ethnicity or to
learn about a new culture. The
groups all conduct a history
month to help educate UNK
students. Guzman hopes to do
more collaborative work with
all of the groups.
He said that along with seeing
students graduate, watching
them immerse themselves in this
increasingly globalized world is
one of the best parts of the job.
“I love challenging students
to see the bigger picture and to
think deeply about who they are
and how their gifts and talents
are the most important ways in
which we can address problems
of social justice in our world.”
Guzman said. “I love the fact
that I work with diversity and
different cultures, and I am so
I am honored to be part of their
college experience.”
email to:
Miles from home
Guzman helps students with the issues he once faced
UNK
Today
:
Personalities
UNK MULTICULTURAL
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Asian American Student Asso-
ciation (ASA)
Black Student Association
(BSA)
Collegiate Leadership Develop-
ment Program (CLDP)
Hispanic Student Association
(HSA)
Queer Straight Alliance (QSA)
Sister to Sister (S2S)
Social Justice League (SJL)
Student Kouncil of Intertribal
Nations (SKINS)
Young Arab Leaders Associa-
tion (YALA)
Go to
/
heritage-months.php for more
information.
Embracing Diversity
JUAN GUZ-
MAN
gives a
presentation
to Latina
students in
the Office of
Multicultural
Affairs. Any-
one of any
race, gender
or any other
personal
identifier
can join any
organization
the office
offers.
Courtesy, Juan Guzman
Suzuki found ways to thrive by being involved
Josh Moody, Kearney Hu
STUDENT RYO SUZUKI
stays busy on campus to stave off
homesickness. Suzuki said that being involved on campus has
made him feel like part of the community.
“The
more I get
involved in
campus,
the less
likely I
am to be
homesick,
Being
involved
with
campus
and the
commu-
nity is a
good thing
for me.”
Ryo Suzuki
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