Nepantla Summer Bridge eases transition to college for first-generation college students

As part of the Nevada State College (NSC) Nepantla Program, NSC has launched its second Summer Bridge program with a cohort of 22 first-generation college students. The Summer Bridge coursework will span six weeks, with students participating in two courses: foundational math and English composition, based upon individual placement testing.
The NSC Summer Bridge is unique in that students not only have the opportunity to acclimate to college coursework, but they start their college experience with a group of similar students in order to foster peer-to-peer support, said Leila Pazargadi, NSC Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Summer Bridge. We see the students maintaining a support system for each other as they progress in their educational and career goals over the next four years and beyond.
Additional workshops and activities throughout the six-week program link students to faculty and community members, helping to build confidence, leadership skills, and alleviate any fears/uncertainties about starting college. Our objective is for the summer to serve as an introduction to college life that empowers students to start their college career without the feeling that they are on their own or that they may get lost in the crowd, Pazargadi explained.
Other activities in the Summer Bridge include a weekly schedule of community and campus speakers covering topics such as career and professional development, cultural and identity formation workshops, and internal college processes. Students will additionally participate in a field trip to Hoover Dam at the conclusion of the program.
Student participants have told me that they are thankful for the opportunity to not only enhance their academic preparedness, but to also create peer networks and connections with staff that make NSC feel like a second home, said Edith Fernandez, Associate Vice President of Community Engagement and Diversity Initiatives. It is this sense of belongingness, meaningful and positive relationships centered on academic achievement and career preparation, which contributes to student retention.
Participants in the Summer Bridge are 2014 high school graduates from NSC partner schools, including Basic, Rancho, Eldorado, Chaparral, Sunrise Mountain, Western, Del Sol, Global and Las Vegas high schools. All students were required to meet the NSC admissions requirements, in addition to a comprehensive application process for the Nepantla program. Scholarships were provided for each of the Summer Bridge participants by the NSC Foundation.
Following the summer coursework, students will transition into the Nepantla Program First Year Experience (FYE), which will again emphasize a rigorous academic schedule while providing workshops and service learning projects that promote student success and career preparedness. Programs like Nepantla help close the achievement gap between Latino and African American students, as compared to their White counterparts. Fernandez said.
The Nepantla Program carves out an alternative space in higher education for students who are in-between cultures and curriculums, added Nicholas Natividad, NSC Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Nepantla Program Director. Nepantla aims to reinterpret and redefine the role of college education by deeply embedding the notion of serving one’s community and embracing cultural difference as a place of knowledge and power.
Funded through a Nevada College Challenge Access Grant, the Nepantla Program works with high school educators, students, family members, and administrators to establish a college-bound culture in the community. The faculty-led initiative serves and inspires underserved first-generation college students to explore college as a pathway that leads toward long-term academic and economic success, Natividad added.

Nevada State College Foundation selects four new trustees

HENDERSON, Nev. (Jul. 29, 2014)  The Nevada State College Foundation (NSCF) has announced the appointment of four new trustees, including: Alison Kasner, Civic and Community Leader; Daniel T. Gerety, Founder & Managing Partner of Gerety & Associates, Certified Public Accountants; Kristi Overgaard, Executive Vice President of Awesomeness for SUPERNAP; and Tony F. Sanchez III, Senior Vice President of Government & Community Strategy at NV Energy.
Established in 2001, the NSCF is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization developed to encourage and promote the growth and improvement of Nevada State College (NSC). Additionally, the 20-member foundation receives and administers private gifts in support of the educational, technological, operational, facility and research needs of students, faculty and staff. The Nevada State College Foundation is currently in the midst of its first comprehensive campaign with a goal of raising $15 million towards four critical areas: facilities and related needs; academic and technology needs; student scholarships; and specific needs related to faculty and student interests such as undergraduate research, athletics, and continuing education
The NSCF plays a vital role in fostering much needed support for NSC the fastest growing institution of higher education in the state, said NSC President Bart Patterson. Our efforts include both private fundraising as well as the development of partnerships that can improve and expand our current educational programs. We’re so pleased to have the support, wealth of knowledge and experience that our new trustees bring to the board.
Comprised of various business and community leaders, NSCF board members go through an in-depth nomination, interview, and election process. All members support the foundation’s mission on a volunteer basis, serving as ambassadors within the community for both the foundation and the college.
A lifelong educator, Kasner has worked within the Clark County School District as a teacher, Transition Counselor and principal, in addition to serving on numerous not-for-profit boards and working as an adjunct faculty member at both UNLV and CSN.
Founder and Managing Partner of Gerety & Associates, one of the top three accounting firms in Southern Nevada dealing with a client base of wealth, Gerety holds degrees in accounting and business from St. Ambrose College in Iowa. Gerety founded his accounting firm in 2004, and in 2011, Gerety & Associates was named the Small Business of the Year in Las Vegas.
As the Executive Vice President of Awesomeness, Overgaard manages the development of the SUPERNAP brand and its affiliated companies. Prior to joining SUPERNAP, Overgaard was the vice president of marketing for The Howard Hughes Corporation. She then founded one11, a leading Las Vegas design firm.
Sanchez currently serves as Senior Vice President for Government & Community Strategy of NV Energy, joining the company in August of 2007. Previously, he served as a Partner in the Jones Vargas Law Firm, Executive Assistant to Nevada Governor Bob Miller, Assistant General Counsel of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, and as Associate Legislative Counsel to United States Senator Richard H. Bryan.
Nevada State College, a four-year public institution, is a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education. NSC places a special emphasis on the advancement of a diverse and largely under-served student population. Located on a developing 500-acre campus in the foothills of Henderson, Nevada, the college was established in 2002 as a new tier in the state system between the research universities and the two-year colleges. In this role, the college emphasizes high-quality instruction, exemplary service, engaging learning experiences, and innovation as a means to more efficient, effective outcomes in all corners of the campus. Since 2002, Nevada State College has grown to offer more than 35 majors and minors, has received independent accreditation and has expanded its physical campus. Committed to fostering a personal learning environment, students are taught by faculty who serve as mentors and guides in classrooms with an average class size of only 23 students. Nevada State College serves approximately 3,400 students and has over 2,200 alumni, each representing a broad array of cultural and economic backgrounds. For more information, visit

Nevada State College announces new positions in the Office of the Provost

The NSC Office of the Provost announced the addition of two new positions this month: The Vice Provost for Scholarship and Experiential Curriculum, and the Vice Provost for Student Success and Academic Innovation.
The new Vice Provost for Scholarship and Experiential Curriculum is Dr. Robin Cresiski, former Physical and Life Sciences Department Chair. Dr. Cresiski will primarily focus on the last two years of the student experience, with a particular effort to promote hands-on academic discovery by faculty and students, including increased opportunities for undergraduate research and the development of new pathways for our students to pursue graduate study within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).
The newly-appointed Vice Provost for Student Success and Academic Innovation is Dr. Tony Scinta, former Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Dr. Scinta will be largely focused on the first two years of the student experience, paving new inroads into student academic support services and assisting faculty with the redesign of NSC gateway courses and the freshmen experience.
Robin and Tony will be working to provide students with an enriching learning experience that promotes high student achievement, both during their time at NSC and in their post-baccalaureate pursuits, said NSC Provost Dr. Erika Beck. Importantly, their work will be tightly integrated to ensure that NSC students benefit from a consistently supportive and inspiring college experience.
According to Dr. Beck, this decision has been long-awaited by the Office of the Provost. Our number one strategic priority on campus is student success, she said. By establishing these positions, we have engendered a renewed ability to help faculty and staff promote student learning and success.
With multiple teaching awards and Ph.D.’s from Yale and UCLA, respectively, Drs. Cresiski and Scinta are both accomplished teacher-scholars with a deep commitment to shared governance and an established track record of effective academic leadership. Above all else, both have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to intervene on behalf of students for whom NSC is their best and sometimes only hope for success. In doing so, one of their critical aims is to help the institution close equity gaps in retention and completion and propel our unique student population to the highest possible levels of achievement.
Dr. Beck and the entire executive leadership team say they have very much been looking forward to the transition of Drs. Cresiski and Scinta into their new roles. I am genuinely delighted that Robin and Tony will be joining the Office of the Provost, Dr. Beck expressed. I look forward to their partnership in moving the academic strategic plan forward and firmly establishing NSC as the premiere undergraduate institution in Nevada.
Dr. Cresiski and Dr. Scinta officially began their new positions on July 1, 2014.