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Faculty Spotlight: Taryn Ozuna Allen

As we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and the ongoing contributions of Latinx educators and advocates, we highlight some of the TCU College of Education students, scholars, teachers and leaders making an impact in their communities.

Taryn Ozuna Allen is an Associate Professor of Higher Educational Leadership and co-founder of Mamis on the Move, a blog aimed at supporting a community of Latina mothers and caregivers in higher education. Her current research projects focus on the influence of dual credit programs in Latino students’ college experiences.

What do you want your higher educational leadership students to take away from your courses?

“We are preparing future administrators, campus leaders and faculty to serve diverse students in a variety of settings in higher education. In my courses I include diverse authors, theorists and diversity of thought when it comes to the history and philosophy of higher education. I want to ensure that our students are prepared to be excellent administrators and be intentional and thoughtful about the research that they design and conduct in higher education.”

What are your main research areas?

“My research focuses on three interrelated areas. The first is college readiness and how students prepare for college, learn about college and decide that they’re going to pursue college at a 2- or 4-year institution. The second thread is related to how students transition from high school to college – who they go to for information, what challenges they encounter as a first-year student and how they leverage what they learned in high school, particularly if they participated in dual credit programs. That area of research is particularly personal to me, with some of the challenges that I encountered in college as a Latina at a predominantly white institution.

The third line of inquiry is mostly focused on retention, success and persistence and what helps students feel like they belong. Latinx students in particular and their families highly value education and pursuing a college degree. We don’t want to have a deficit perspective when we talk about these communities and focusing on what they lack but embrace their agency and their power in the process and cultivating relationships with parents. Students have also focused on the need for role models and mentors. Even as the Latinx population continues to grow in K-12 schools and on college campuses, Latinx faculty and staff and teachers remain underrepresented, especially for males. There is a need to broaden the pipeline so that we have additional representation in those spaces, not just for those individuals to do the work, but so we can begin to build a culture and a community that is diverse and reflective of the communities around us.”

How did the Mamis on the Move blog start?

“Mayra Olivares-Urueta and I founded Mamis on the Move this year to empower other Latina moms and caregivers and validate their place in higher education. There are so few Latinas who are higher education administrators and faculty, so we wanted to offer a support network to encourage and coach other Latina moms and caregivers in academia and administration.

So often motherhood isn’t considered in who you are in administration or academia. We’re human beings navigating these spaces and taking care of children and our partners. With Mamis on the Move, we wanted to talk about how Dr. Olivares-Urueta and I arrived in our current toles and talk honestly about the challenges in accomplishing our goals. We also have some expertise we can offer in terms of coaching or looking at resumes or other documents. It’s inspiring and encouraging as Latina moms and caregivers set and achieve their goals.”