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Montelongo: Latino Groups Affect Student Success

Image: Dr. Ricardo MontelongoAt the University of St. Thomas, Hispanic students are 40 percent of the undergraduate population. In spite of their high percentage in schools like St.Thomas, many research studies overlook the role of Latino students in different universities.

Dr. Ricardo Montelongo, director for student success at University of St.Thomas, conducted a survey study that examines the involvement of Latino students at number of colleges, especially in Latino and miniority student organizations and the impact of involvement in these groups on the college experience.

Montelongo will present his research “Latino student organizations and college success: Understanding a valuable resource,” at the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Association Annual Conference in Houston, on October 13-15, 2013.

This conference will give other student affairs personnel the opportunity to learn more about how diverse student organizations of Latino students affect academic process.

Montelongo found that Latino students use social and educational groups on campus to connect to other students. These groups help students to learn more about their career paths and participate in events and activities.

“Latina/o student organizations provide connections to students, whether it’s a connection to other peers or connections to familiar environments and experiences, on campus and elsewhere,” Montelongo said. “These connections usually lead, I found, to increased campus satisfaction, further involvement in other groups, and good academic performance.”

At University of St. Thomas, students can join different Latino clubs and associations like Bilingual Educators Student Association, Spanish Club for languages and Association of Latino Professional in Finance and Accounting.

As director for student success, Montelongo’s research helps him understand how to use campus life as an important strategy for managing student success.

“I found that positive educational outcomes are closely connected to levels of student engagement both in and out of the classroom,” he said. “Understanding how to use campus life as a strategy for student success is important in my work with individual students.  Campus life has many facets and being able to connect a student to one or more of those facets to provide a spark that increases motivation and satisfaction is important.”

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