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Juan Flores helps students transition from diverse backgrounds into MSU.
Juan Flores helps students transition from diverse backgrounds into MSU.

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Juan Flores: the importance of diversity at MSU

Posted By: Danielle Fowler    Published: Monday, 20 Mar 2017

A man with short hair sits in front of a window and speaks to an interviewer.Watch: Juan Flores talks about the importance of diversityOpens in new window.

A global campus offers more than just language learning and study abroad opportunities. Diversity and inclusion are essential to create a space where students can learn from each other and thrive. Juan Flores is a Coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions (OCAT) at Michigan State University. He helps coordinate various programs that promote diversity, inclusion and student success at MSU.

Juan received his M.A in Clinical Social Work from Michigan State University, but his experience with students began when he was a student in 2001.

"I remember the intercultural aides knocking on my door. I thought that the fact that there is a job for students to help people adapt to the university was amazing," said Flores. He wanted to continue working with students on issues of diversity, and eventually started a position at OCAT. "They helped me out when I was a student, and I came back to help the mission and vision of OCAT because it is valuable."

OCAT develops programs to help students transition from diverse backgrounds into MSU. Their goal is to introduce Spartans to the different cultural and ethnic groups on campus and teach the importance of interacting with them. They also focus on helping first generation and low income students succeed academically. Through the Counsel of Racial and Ethnic Students (CORES), Maximizing Academic Transition (Magic) program, Intercultural Aide program, and events like Cultural Remix, OCAT not only enhances college experience, it also challenges our student body to go out of their comfort zone to become global citizens. 

"As long as MSU keeps on fighting to make an impact on the life of Spartans and helping increase retention and inclusion, I'm going to be there," said Flores. "Everyone who comes to MSU belongs here. They need to feel like they are part of our community because they are. No matter who they are or where they come from." 

For Flores, MSU is a place that values differences, inclusion and diversity. OCAT offers great cross-cultural learning opportunities for anyone who is willing to interact with the community. For more information about OCAT, visit their website at ocat.msu.edu.

Tags: international  diversity  ocat  inclusion  

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