Ferrum College Associate Professor of Spanish Patty Suppes is the recipient of a 2019 NAFSA Region VIII Advocacy Day scholarship. Suppes will participate in NAFSA Advocacy Day activities on March 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C. She plans to lobby for support for international education: “That includes study abroad and international students coming here,” Suppes explained. “We, as in colleges and universities, need more support for student visas and more funding for programming and scholarships.”
Suppes has also been selected to be the NAFSA region VIII conference planning apprentice. In this role, she will support the current conference planner for the organization’s fall conference in Baltimore. Next year, she will lead the planning efforts when the NAFSA conference moves to Roanoke.
In addition, Suppes has been accepted to NAFSA’s Trainer Corps and will train conference attendees in areas such as: collaborative approaches to developing faculty-led programs; internships, research, and service learning abroad; student health and safety abroad; developing basic research skills to strengthen international education practices; and others.
Suppes immigrated to the U.S. from Peru as a child. At 16, she volunteered to teach English as a second language through the Northern Virginia Literacy Council. After earning her bachelor’s from Sweet Briar College, she served with the Peace Corps in Morocco and then earned a master’s and Ph.D. in Latin American literature through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Suppes’s current focus is improving immigration policies in the U.S.; she has received a Jessie Ball duPont grant to participate in “Immigration and Citizenship in the United States,” a National Humanities Center seminar.
“It is essential to who we are as a nation and to the ideal of a free and fair society to actively promote diversity and inclusion in our institutions of higher education,” Suppes said in a statement. “Students need a global perspective that can only come from living and learning in a culture different from their own, and from interacting here in the U.S. with students who have a different cultural background. It is essential that we impress upon our legislators that they need to support us in our efforts to broaden education to not only include, but to embrace the diversity of our world.”
Read more about Advocacy Day and Dr. Suppes’s scholarship here.