Faculty

HESA Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

The HESA program is excited to welcome two new full-time faculty members to the HESA program! Dr. Gerardo Blanco and Dr. H. Kenny Nienhusser will join the HESA team beginning in fall 2018.  Learn more about each of them below:

 

Dr. Gerardo Blanco (he/him/his pronouns) is currently an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He was born in Mexico and is, very proudly, a first-generation college graduate. He holds graduate degrees (M.Ed., 2007; Ed.D., 2013) from The University of Maine and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Gerardo’s research interests focus on international higher education, assessment practices, and quality improvement in higher education. He has authored or co-authored articles that document the complexities of higher education leadership and internationalization in different countries, including China, Mexico, and the Philippines. Gerardo’s teaching focuses on international higher education, research methods, and leadership and management in higher education. His experience as a student affairs professional focused on residential education, multicultural student services, and advisement of LGBTQ learning communities.

 

Dr. H. Kenny Nienhusser currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership in the College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions at the University of Hartford. He holds an EdD in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He also holds a MSW and a BA in Economics, both from Stony Brook University. As a first-generation Latino college student who grew up in a working-class household of immigrant parents, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of his work as a researcher, teacher, and scholar-citizen. His research interests include higher education access of underserved adolescents and the majority of his research has examined the educational policy environment for undocumented and DACAmented students in relation to their postsecondary education access. Kenny has more than 15 years of professional experience—in Student and Academic Affairs—in several types of higher education institutions.

 

HESA extends a special thank-you to the members of the search committee:

  • Dr. Richard Schwab (Search Committee Chair, Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Educational Leadership)
  • Dr. Laura Burton (Associate Professor of Sport Management, Department of Educational Leadership)
  • Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya (Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Department of Educational Leadership)
  • Stacey Murdock (Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative Services)
  • Danielle Berkman (Second Year HESA Student)
  • Denée Jackson (First Year HESA Student)

 

HESA Runs Winter Clothing Drive for Puerto Rican Students Displaced by Hurricane

Left to Right: HESA Graduate Assistant Rico Destinvil, Professor Kari Taylor, HESA student Jessica Gramajo Vivas, Professor Reggie Blockett, HESA Student and Staff Development Manager Danielle DeRosa, and Professor Milagros Castillo-Montoya stand with donated clothing.  Photo by Shawn Kornegay.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Connecticut schools welcomed a wave of Puerto Rican students who had been displaced from their homes and communities on the island. This February, the HESA program and campus partners (the Department of Educational Leadership, HESA students, and the HESA village) ran a winter clothing drive to benefit newly-arrived Puerto Rican students at two local high schools.

Professor Milagros Castillo-Montoya, who spearheaded the project, initially approached Christina Rivera, an Ed.D. student in the Department of Educational Leadership, with the idea. Rivera was able to connect Professor Castillo-Montoya with the two Connecticut schools that expressed the need for donations: Hartford Public High School and Windham High school.

Once the school connections had been made, Castillo-Montoya said, the HESA and EDLR communities mobilized to collect a total of 270 items, which included coats, jackets, boots, scarves, pants, and gloves. HESA practicum student Jessica Gramajo Vivas created a flyer to notify the HESA and EDLR communities of the opportunity to donate items, and HESA Student and Staff Development Manager Danielle DeRosa coordinated with current HESA students to distribute donation boxes to collect items.

“The success achieved in so little time would not have been possible without the people who helped get the word out, HESA students who collected donations at their respective assistantship sites, assistantship site and practicum site supervisors who allowed donations to get collected there, and everyone who donated,” said Castillo-Montoya. She also highlighted donations from EDLR faculty, HESA students, and the entire HESA village.

“For these high school students and their families, some of which are living in shelters, this made a big difference,” said Castillo-Montoya. “Thank you to all who got involved and helped make this happen.” While unable to assist in all hurricane relief efforts, this drive was an opportunity for the HESA and EDLR communities to build on existing relationships and support local students in a targeted and timely way.

 

Dr. Rincón to Serve in Upcoming Leadership Capacities

Editor’s Note: This story, written by EDLR’s Meghan Farrell, originally appeared on EDLR’s website on March 23, 2017

This past fall she was named co-principal investigator for a five-year $3.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant dedicated to expanding diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field. Most recently, Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Blanca Rincón, has been elected to serve on the directorate for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Commission for Professional Preparation (CPP), and as a programming committee member for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division-J. <read more>

HESA alum and current instructor Fany Hannon (’08)

UConn Leader Recognized for Contributions to the Hispanic Community

Editor’s Note: This story, written by UConn Communication’s Kenneth Best, appears in UConn Today’s September 16, 2016 issue

During the upcoming celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on the American Spanish language television network Univision, one individual recognized for her contributions to the Hispanic community will be Fany Hannon ’08 MA, director of the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC).

Hannon’s work with UConn students will be seen by viewers of Univision’s affiliates in Connecticut and the Springfield, Mass., region as part of the network’s Nuestro Orgullo Hispano – Our Hispanic Pride – segments aired in commercial breaks as part of the month-long celebration, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Read the entire article here