Following a competitive application process, Jarin Eva Ph.D. ’25, a student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership in Higher Education doctoral program, has been selected as one of 40 ambassadors for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). The organization uses a network and resource approach to support graduate students and new professionals dealing with institutionalized culture in a manner that promotes systematic change in higher education and student affairs departments. As an outgrowth of the National Association of Appointment Secretaries (NAAS), which was founded in 1924 by May L. Cheney, at a time when women were not allowed to join associations, ACPA’s work now reflects Cheney’s original vision of equity and inclusion established almost 100 years ago.
The ACPA Ambassadors specifically focus on ways to support the needs of graduate students and new professionals in higher education and student affairs in the United States and internationally. They form the Graduate Student New Professionals Community of Practice (GSNPCOP). In this role, Eva can attend ACPA’s open business meetings and award sessions at the annual conference, submit program proposals for ACPA-regulated conferences, review scholarship submissions, host webinars, and attend monthly ACPA events. “This opportunity has allowed me to work with students from Miami University on a program proposal, participating in collaborative partnerships that will have international exposure” shares Eva.
When reflecting on this opportunity, Eva notes its power to connect her to a broader and diverse network, “I applied for the ambassador role because of the network. You are able to meet interesting people in education and business through monthly conversations where we discuss concerns facing leadership roles in different contexts. It is very intriguing and unique.” In 2020, ACPA had 6,500 active individual members and 500 institutional members. In addition to a diverse network, ACPA also opens doors for women in leadership. “Every year there is a conference where different women leaders propose solutions to their own institution’s current problems, and it is so interesting to hear from them what it takes to be a leader” comments Eva.
The ambassador role and the experiences it provides directly connects to Eva’s coursework at William & Mary. “In my quantitative research methods course, I am learning about topics related to social justice and race. ACPA gives me direct access to talk to different leaders, which helps me better understand the culture and competencies. As I am interested in public advocacy, I am interested in learning about different backgrounds. Now I am approaching higher education topics by understanding it from a social justice perspective” reflects Eva.Eva shares her excitement to serve as an ambassador for ACPA, “I was passionate about wanting to get into a platform to learn about publishing opportunities, and I know that guidance is important. I am very excited for their conference and to have opportunities as an ambassador to write about what I am interested in.”