PULLMAN, Wash.—Several Washington State University staff members and the programs they lead have been singled out by a prominent national student services organization for programming innovation and service to the profession.

Marcela Pattinson, assistant director for community relations and outreach in the Office of Multicultural Student Services; Rudy Trejo, associate director for Student Involvement; and Matthew Jeffries, director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) received awards during the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., March 3-7.

UndocuQueer Conference

The UndocuQueer Conference received an Exemplary Program Award by NASPA’s Gender & Sexuality Knowledge Community. Pattinson and Jeffries team up to organize the annual conference, thought to be the only one of its kind in the state. UndocuQueer serves to educate the WSU community and educators from across the region on issues facing today’s undocumented and queer population. The term “queer” refers to the LGBT community.

Participants learn how to start activist groups, build best practices, and access experts from throughout the state. In addition to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, workshops address legal issues that impact the queer population, the roles served by allies, and the historical timelines of immigration as it pertains to the LGBTQ community.

Jeffries also received an individual service award for his dedication to NASPA. His involvement started in 2013 when he joined the Region V MultiRacial Knowledge Community. Since then he has provided leadership for several other Region V NASPA groups, including the Scholarship Committee and the Gender & Sexuality Knowledge Community.

Pattinson recently joined NASPA’s region V advisory board as the undocumented immigrants and allies representative.

Tier Three Leadership Programs

WSU’s unique Tier Three Leadership Programs will receive NASPA’s Outstanding Leadership Program of the Year Award given by the NASPA Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community. The programs run out of The Leadership Center in the Office of Student Involvement.

Over the past two years, Trejo and his team have built a unique program model that ensures sustained growth, intentional development, collaboration, student led programming, and community building, something not found at other universities. The uniqueness of the tier structure, built around the Social Change Model Theory of Leadership, allows participants to not only learn and grow in their leadership development, but also mentor younger students as well as serve as the student staff members who execute the very programs they were once part of. Over the course of two years, student engagement in Leadership Center programming has tripled in terms of the number of students who enroll and complete the program.

Tier 1 consists of Emerging Leaders, a semester-long program for first-year students designed to provide students with an understanding of their individual leadership abilities, as well as provide resources to ensure their success and retention. Tier 2 features the Crimson Leadership VIP (Values, Integrity, Purpose), a year-long program that focuses on collaboration, common purpose, and controversy with civility. Group values serve as the bedrock for this program. Students in VIP must have completed Emerging Leaders and serve as mentors to Emerging Leaders participants. Tier 3, Leadership WSU, focuses on citizenship and collaborates with the non-profit organization Leadership Spokane. This program exposes students to the issues, complexities, and realities of life after college, with facilitation coming from Leadership Spokane alumni, many of which are WSU alumni. This program takes place monthly on the WSU-Spokane campus, leveraging the vast resources of the WSU system.

Trejo also serves on NASPA’s national board of directors for the Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP), an initiative dedicated to developing the next generation of student affairs professional. Trejo oversees the NUFP initiative on the WSU-Pullman campus.

Mary Jo Gonzales, WSU vice president for Student Affairs, said the individuals and programs receiving recognition are a testament to the quality of people within the Division and the innovation they are bringing to their jobs every day. “I am very proud of the work Marcela, Rudy and Matthew are doing to improve the lives of WSU students and it is great others around the nation are taking notice,” she said.

NASPA has also taken note of Gonzales and honored her with the Pillar of the Profession Award, one of the most prestigious awards in student affairs.


For more information:

  • Contact Sharae Randall, executive director, marketing and communications, WSU Division of Student Affairs, 509-335-0046, sharae@wsu.edu.