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Spotlight: Lester Manzano

Lester Manzano 1APIKC member Lester Manzano is Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago. Before arriving at Loyola in 2005, Lester was Director of Residence Life at Lake Forest College (IL), where he led a comprehensive residential life program. Previously, he served as Assistant Director of Residential Life at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY), overseeing housing operations and residential student-conduct administration.

A supporter of student leadership development, Lester also volunteers his time, serving as advisor to Loyola’s Council of Pan-Asian Americans (COPAA), the umbrella organization for AAPI student organizations. Beyond Loyola, from 2009 to 2012, Lester served on the Board of Advisors of the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU), a non-profit intercollegiate student-run organization that works to recognize the needs of the AAPI community by assisting colleges and universities with the establishment of AAPI student organizations, promoting leadership among students, and developing a channel of communication among AAPI student organizations in the Midwest.

A member of NASPA since 1997, Lester has served on the local arrangements committee for the 2010 NASPA Conference in Chicago and as chair of local arrangements for the 2011 NASPA IV-East Conference. This past March, Lester began his term as chair of the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) Board. NUFP’s mission is “to increase the number of historically disenfranchised and underrepresented professionals in student affairs and/or higher education, including but not limited to those of racial and ethnic-minority background; those having a disability; and those identifying as LGBTQ.” This semi-structured mentorship program encourages NASPA members to identify and mentor undergraduate students, guiding them in learning about the field of student affairs and in considering graduate studies and a career in higher education and student affairs.

A member of the NUFP Board since 2005, Lester has served in various roles including as chair of the planning committee for the 2009 NUFP Pre-Conference program in Seattle and as institute director for the 2011 and 2012 Dungy Leadership Institutes (DLI) for NUFP Fellows. He is thrilled to be working with the NUFP Board, as the Chair-Elect, over the next two years as the leadership will be working toward achieving its strategic goals for 2015. These goals include (a) building the Board’s capacity to create knowledge and use data that are supportive of excellence in practice for NUFP and (b) strengthening NUFP by making it a more responsive, vital, and sustainable program within NASPA. For Lester, this includes enhancing connections between the Knowledge Communities and NUFP Fellows and alumni/ae and increasing the visibility of the NUFP program within NASPA.

Originally from Walnut, California, Lester earned a B.A. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont. He is currently a part-time doctoral student in the Higher Education program at Loyola University Chicago where his research interests include AAPI students’ campus and community involvement.

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