Washington State University Director of College Access Programs Ray Acuña-Luna delivered three presentations to the Mexican Consulate in Seattle in January to inform prospective students and their families about the value of a college education.

“Personally, I have long recognized that education is an important key to success, and that the possibilities associated with college could be discussed in Spanish-speaking families as a way to improve one’s future possibilities,” said Acuña-Luna. One of the aspects of his work in the Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) includes reaching out to regional high school students to help them on their path to WSU.

“I also believe that broader outreach and support plans for college-aged students and their families aligns with WSU’s role as a land-grant institution, providing equitable access to college for key segments of the state’s population.”

Knowing that the regional Mexican Consulate offers a variety of education workshops to Mexican nationals on its website, Acuña-Luna proposed to deliver a few about college and WSU.

Aligned with Consulate goals

“We liked Ray’s ideas very much, to explain the process involved in getting a college degree and what students and families need to do,” said Nora Araujo Gomez, community outreach assistant at the Consulate.

“It’s a very important topic. Many Mexican families may not know much about a university education and how to go about seeking one or how to pay for it. With information from Ray, families will be better informed and be able to talk to their children about higher education and how it can lead to a better quality of life.”

The Mexican Consulate in Seattle serves constituents in Washington, Alaska, and parts of Idaho. Its mission, as a Mexican government office, is to protect the rights and interests of Mexican citizens while abroad in the U.S.

Three Acuña-Luna workshops in January

Using a Zoom video platform, Acuna-Luna prepared and delivered three presentations that will be recorded and featured on the Consulate’s Facebook site:

  • “Una Inversión Familiar: Los Beneficios de Obtener Una Educación Superior” (“A Family Investment: The Benefits of Higher Education”), presented Jan. 20.
  • “El Proceso de Admisiones y Opciones Educativas en el Estado de Washington” (“The Admissions Process and Educational Opportunities in the State of Washington”), presented Jan. 27.
  • “El Proceso de Ayuda Financiera: ¿Cómo Solventar el Costo Universitario?” (“The Financial  Aid Process: How to Pay for College?”), presented Jan. 28.

Well prepared for the presentations

Acuña-Luna is himself a student at WSU, pursuing a Ph.D. in cultural studies and social thought in education and having earned in 2015 an Ed.M. in educational leadership with an emphasis in higher education administration. His bachelor of arts degree in biology was earned at the University of Texas-Austin.

He has been the director of College Access Programs in OAE since September and led its Cougs Rise program since 2017. He was acting director, and previously retention counselor, of the College Assistance Migrant Program from 2014 until 2017 and was a residential education director from 2010-2014.

At WSU, he is co-chair of the Chicanx, Latinx, Faculty, Staff and Allies Association, and chaired the Administrative Professional Advisory Council in 2016-17. He has taught several courses, served on and chaired several committees, made numerous presentations, and earned several certifications.

The OAE is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement in the provost’s office.