Conference at GVSU for Latino youth focuses on building college-going culture

Grand Valley will host more than 1,000 Latino youth from across Michigan at a conference next spring sponsored by a consortium of higher education admissions officers. 

The ALSAME (Advocates for Latino Student Advancement in Michigan Education) Conference will be May 6 in the Fieldhouse on the Allendale Campus. Grand Valley hosted the 2019 conference, which was attended by more than 600 youth. 

GVSU Admissions counselors Michael Guerra and Elizabeth Arangure-Martinez are co-chairs. Guerra said a college fair accompanies the conference, and industry leaders in health care and technology will staff tables to engage with students. 

"We hope to empower, excite and better prepare our Michigan Latino students for higher education," Guerra said. "Students will leave the conference with knowledge of emerging career fields, and will have networked with colleges and universities, gaining skills to become competitive applicants and with an understanding of the importance of attending college."

in this 2019 photo, two rows of Latino youth pose for a photo against a blue wall with the GVSU logo and words: Grand Valley State University
Latino youth who attended the 2019 ALSAME conference are pictured.
University Communications
Michael Guerra, admissions counselor, speaks to an audience from a stage at the 2019 ALSAME conference.
Michael Guerra, admissions counselor, speaks to an audience from a stage at the 2019 ALSAME conference. The 2022 conference will be held on May 6.
University Communications

Vanessa Reynolds, admissions counselor from Wayne State University, is co-board chair of ALSAME's executive board. Reynolds said she has attended many similar conferences and is consistently struck by the reaction from students. 

"I am always touched by the reaction of students when they walk into an auditorium and see a room full of students that look like them, many of them first-generation students, who are lost and in search of guidance," Reynolds said. "We want to help make college a reality for them by connecting them with the right folks and providing them with resources." 

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said he appreciates the trust ALSAME board members have in Grand Valley to host an outstanding and impactful conference. 

"ALSAME has sponsored college fairs for Latino students and its volunteers disseminate information and resources — this work is vital to increasing the numbers of Latino students who go on to college," Truss said. "We are thrilled to host 1,000 students on campus next spring. They will learn about the college-going culture and understand the resources available that will set them up for success." 

Updates for the conference will be posted online at