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Institute encourages first generation students

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Alexandra Lozano
Assistant Editor

The Mosaic Cultural Institute and the Center for Teaching and Learning held their open house at the new location of the Institute between D and E streets, next door to the Literacy Center last Wednesday.

“We wanted people to come to this side of the University and understand the different programs and grants,” said Maria Grandone-Llorente, executive director of the Mosaic Cultural Institute. “We wanted to make sure that people know about our services.”

The Mosaic Cultural Institute offers advice in demystifying the graduate process and provides activities to help first generation students.

Alumnus Emmett Terrell, deputy superintendent at Pomona Unified School District and a member of the University of La Verne’s Board of Trustees, was the special guest speaker.

Terrell spoke of a mentor at the University that encouraged him to help other African-American men.

“(She) challenged me to come back to the University and work with young men, in particular African-American men, not just to go to school, but graduate from school,” Terrell said.

Terrell spoke of a pre-Brother’s Forum organization.

“How do we create a support network to share what we know?” Terrell said.

The organization consisted of 15 men: 11 African-American and four Latino. This organization has since evolved into the Brother’s Forum, a program designed to assist African American men.

When Terrell attended the University there were only seven African-American students out of 800. Since then he has seen an increase in the number of minorities attending.

“My brother followed me here because he thought it was a nice place to go,” Terrell said. “(Many) see this as a vehicle to enhance their lives.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning also celebrated their Open House along with the Mosaic Cultural Institute.

“We want to show the community our facilities,” Ronald Bergmann, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning said. “And what we have to offer and give them an opportunity to use our services.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning supports the faculty in integrating their curricula and content with the technology available.

“Our goal is to work together to advance student achievements and learning within the campus,” Bergmann said.

Also invited to the event was Nani Escudero, scholarship coordinator for Telacu.

The Telacu Education Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on providing Latino students with financial assistance.

“We provide scholarships to students from the inner city,” Escudero said.

“We provide financial support as well as academic support.”

Another component of the Telacu scholarship program is CALP, the College Advisement and Leadership Program. This is designed to insure students a smooth transition from high school into college.

Telacu was invited to the Open House to visit the new location.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” Escudero said. “We’re definitely looking forward to continuing the relationship.”

Senior Krystle Luckey, a movement and sports science major, is a student employee at the Mosaic Cultural Institute. She is excited about the new facility.

“It’s more room so it’s more opportunity to get things done,” Luckey said. “There’s new staff so things have changed.”

The Mosaic Cultural Institute has made many changes since it opened in its new location during the summer. The MCI has a new mission statement and is still looking for a replacement for Keisha Bentley, the former intercultural development director.

Alexandra Lozano can be reached at

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