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Closing The Language Gap

Stephanie Cannon '06 August 20, 2013 4:26 PM

By Roberto Molar Candanosa ’13

When Texas A&M’s Office of New Student Programs became aware that many of its incoming students brought Spanish-speaking family members with them to New Student Conferences, they immediately saw the need for translation services. Then, in the spring of 2011, the New Student Conference in Español program was launched, helping Spanish-speaking families engage in their first experience as members of the Aggie family.

The NSC in Español offers live translations via headset for specific informational sessions. With the help of trained student translators, Spanish-speaking family members can learn about Texas A&M as an institution, the Aggie Spirit, billing services and financial aid, academic requirements, student life, transportation and housing—all essential subjects for a new Aggie’s immersion into Texas A&M.

Libby Daggers, Assistant Coordinator of New Student & Family Programs, said enabling parents to actively accompany their student during freshmen orientations is crucial for the students’ transition into college. “We see that the content at New Student Conferences is already overwhelming and parents try to do the best they can to support their students,” she said. “So if you try to do that when English is not your native language, then it certainly presents more challenges.”

Three years after its inception, the New Student Conference in Español strives to break the barriers of language. An overview of the program from the 2012 summer New Student Conferences shows families of at least 140 students received translation assistance, even exhausting all headset devices during two conferences. The program has also been recognized with the Innovative Program Award by the National Orientation Directors Association Region IV Conference for its new and effective initiative to meet the changing needs of college campuses.

Thanks in part to the generous donors to The Association of Former Students, the NSC in Español program is available free of charge to students and their families. Former students’ gifts cover the wages and uniforms of student translators, translation system equipment, newsletters, informational materials and booklets targeted for parents of college freshmen. Learn more about the program at http://newaggie.tamu.edu/nsc/programs/family.


Financial support of New Student Conference in Español is just one of the many ways Texas A&M is impacted by the generous donors to The Association's Annual Fund. Click to see more ways in which your gifts make an impact on Texas A&M students, faculty and staff.




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