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Students sample taste of administrator life

For students still deciding what they want to do with their lives, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators hosted the Minority Undergraduate Fellows Program at Duke this month to introduce minority students to careers in student affairs.

Thirty-one students from 25 schools across the nation participated in the three-day summer leadership institute.

"It is designed for careers in higher education to get [students] thinking about graduate schools and to know that student affairs is an option," said Andrea Caldwell, assistant dean of students.

Duke was chosen to host the annual Summer Leadership Program over another 100 other institutions that volunteered. In response to the lack of minorities in student affairs positions, former NASPA president Doug Woodward founded MUFP in 1989 to encourage minority students to become involved in student affairs and to continue in higher education.

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta delivered a keynote speech to the group.

"MUFP is a wonderful program which helps identify students of color who may be interested in serving college students through various campus roles," Moneta wrote in an e-mail. "The program exposes the attendees to the complex and exciting roles of student affairs staff and helps them understand the opportunities we have to serve student needs and the paths one can follow to the various student affairs careers."

The program allows students to learn about career opportunities and to develop problem-solving skills. Most of the activities centered on case studies, particularly examples from Duke.

Fellows in the program also participate in a one- or two-year internship under the guidance of a mentor from their home institutions. They also have the opportunity to participate in an eight-week summer internship.

"It's a phenomenal program that has impacted numerous lives," said Brian Hemphill, national coordinator for MUFP. "Working with students on college campuses and introducing students and getting them [into student affairs offices] engages a student affairs program."

The program also included disabled students, one of NASPA's primary goals last year.

The Department of Education recently awarded NASPA a grant to continue development of the program, enabling it to host a fall leadership institute at the University of Hawaii.

"We hope after the experience that they are sold," said Hemphill. "That's what I want to do with my life--that I want to work in student affairs.'"

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