Latinos in the Heartland:
Shaping the Future: Leadership for Inclusive Communities

University of Missouri - Kansas City
June 10-12, 2015
 Last Updated: 2 September, 2015

Subscribe to the Announcements List



The Program-at-a-Glance is available as PDF here. The full detailed program is available on this page, after the plenary speaker bios.
See the Printed Program.

The presentation abstracts are now available here. Short biographies for the presenters are available here

Tracks in this years conference include: Education, Health, ELL & Dual Language Education, Youth Development, Change & Integration, and Economic Development & Civic Engagement. The program is determined by the Planning Committee and conference chairs.

Plenary Speakers

Mario Hernández
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Latino Economic Development Center

HernandezMario Hernández is the VP and COO of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC). LEDC is Minnesota's statewide, membership, and ethnic based organization focused on transforming communities by creating economic opportunity for Latinos.  At LEDC, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, including fund development, human resources, financial administration and program management.

Katherine Richardson Bruna
Associate Professor, Iowa State University

Richardson BrunaKatherine Richardson Bruna is an associate professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University. She is the director of the ISU 4U Promise. Her research interests include multiculturalism and bilingualism in schools and society, and teaching and learning in demographically transitioning community and classroom contexts.



Kansas City's Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative
"Utilizing the Hispanic Needs Assessment as an Impetus for Action"

The Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative (LCEC) is made up of the executive directors from Latino-serving organizations in Kansas City, Missouri, including: Cabot Westside Health Center, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, LULAC National Education Service Center, Mattie Rhodes Center, Samuel Rodgers Health Center and the Westside Housing Organization. The LCEC is dedicated to supporting the delivery of education, health, mental health, business development, housing, economic development and social services for the Latino population of Kansas City.  John Fierro is the President/CEO of the Mattie Rhodes Center, known for its holistic approach to improving the well-being of individuals, families and the community in Greater Kansas City. Dr. Kathryn L. Fuger, Research Associate of the Institute for Human Development at University of Missouri-Kansas City, conducts program evaluation, applied research, and assessment addressing children and family issues.  Carlos Gomez is the President/CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP
President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City


Bridget McCandless, M.D., is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She has previously served as the medical director and co-founder of the Shared Care Free Clinic, which serves uninsured, low-income adults with chronic illness. She also works closely in the areas of health care reform, patient advocacy and health literacy.

Site Visits

The conference will include several site visits on Thursday, June 11, from 10:45 am - 1:45 pm to visit some of the excellent organizations demonstrating best practices of working with Latino and immigrant populations. There will be five different site visits (concurrently), see program for details.

Conference Program

Changes to the printed program are noted below; additions are highlighted and cancellations have strikethrough . Powerpoints that are available are linked from the title of the presentation, which are underlined.

Day 1 - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

9:00 - 11:30 AM
Annual Meeting of the interstate initiative Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities (NCERA 216)

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Missouri Dual Language Network (MODLAN) meeting

1:00 -1:50 PM
Welcome Session:
Stephen Jeanetta, Interim Director of the Cambio Center, University of Missouri-Columbia
Miguel Carranza, Latina/Latino Studies and Sociology, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Chancellor Leo Morton, University of Missouri-Kansas City
George F. Czapar, Associate Dean and Director, University of Illinois Extension

2:00 - 2:50 PM
Plenary 1
Harvesting The Heartland’s Promise: Latina/o Learning Catalyzing School and Community Change
Katherine Richardson Bruna – Iowa State University

3:00 - 4:15 PM
Breakout Session Block 1

1A: Changing Communities Panel
Understanding and Responding to Changing Communities

“Understanding Community Change: Repeated Case Studies of Hampton, Iowa”
Cynthia Fletcher – Iowa State University

 “Pan Latino Diversity in the Midwest”
J.S. Onésimo Sandoval – Saint Louis University

“Montgomery County, Maryland. Welcoming Immigrants, One Person at a Time!”
Paola Bichara – Montgomery College, Maryland

“Assessing Learning Skills and Knowledge of Latino Farmers and Ranchers in Missouri: An Assessment to Curricula Evaluation”
Eleazar U. Gonzalez – University of Missouri-Columbia

1B: Economic Development and Civic Engagement Panel
Latino Entrepreneurship and Economic Development in the Midwest

“Preliminary Findings on Individual and Contextual Factors Explaining Latino Entrepreneurship in Rural Communities of the Midwest”
Corinne Valdivia, Andrick Payen Diaz de la Vega, Lisa Y. Flores – University of Missouri
“Moving Up: Communities, Institutions and Plural Societies”
Captain Francisco M. Hernandez – Creative Associates International
Debra Bolton – Kansas State University Research and Extension

“How the Dairy Industry Manages its Latino Labor Force”
Ruben Martinez, William Escalante, Joanna Acosta, and Jean Kayitsinga – Michigan State University

1C: Education Panel
“Collaborative Model for Access, Retention & Academic Success for Greater Kansas City's Latina/o Students”
Marjorie Datwyler, Miguel Carranza, Alejandra Perez-Estrada, Elizabeth Duarte-Rios, and Jessica Rodas – University of Missouri-Kansas City

1D: ELL & Dual Language Education Panel
“Planning Dual Language Schools in Rural and Urban Areas: Promising Practices and Consideration”
Lisa Dorner – University of Missouri
Daisy Collins – Missouri State University
Allyson Hile – Kansas City Public Schools
Jana Sawyer – Carthage Public Schools

1E: Health Panel
Health Promotion and Inclusion for Farmworker Families

“Mixed Methods Study: Healthy-Eating Decision-Making in Adolescent Children of Latino Migrant Farmworkers”
Jill Kilanowski – Michigan State University
“The Importance of Work in HIV/AIDS for Health Literacy with Spanish-Speaking Agricultural Workers”
Pilar Horner, Samantha Martin, and Zachary Bosey – Michigan State University

“Pushing for Inclusion and Change in Lafayette County, Missouri”
Gretchen Green – Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund

1F: Youth Development Panel
“Prosocial/Positive Youth Development and Latinos in the Midwest”
Gustavo Carlo – University of Missouri
Marcela Raffaelli – University of Illinois
Ricardo Diaz – University of Illinois
John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas – Iowa State University 

4:30 - 5:15 PM
Thematic group idea exchange
See notes from 2014 Idea Exchange

See notes from 2015 Idea Exchange

5:30 - 6:30 PM
Poster session & Hors d’oeuvres

6:30 PM

Day 2 - Thursday, June 11, 2015

7:30 AM
Coffee and continental breakfast

8:00 - 9:15 AM
Breakout Session Block 2

2A: Changing Communities Panel
Extension Leadership and Engagement: Assessments and Plans

“Multicultural Needs Assessment of Extension Educators - Oklahoma Cooperative Extension”
Maria G. (Lupita) Fabregas Janeiro, Joyce Sherrer, and Jorge H. Atiles – Oklahoma State University
“Building a Comprehensive Plan for Reaching Minorities through Extension: Avoiding Isolated Approaches”
Maria G. (Lupita) Fabregas Janeiro and Jorge H. Atiles – Oklahoma State University

“Intercultural Understanding, Not a Footnote. Strengthening Extension Capacity for Engagement”
Alejandra Gudiño – University of Missouri Extension

2B: Economic Development and Civic Engagement Workshop
“DreamZone Allyship Program: Creating Safe Spaces for Undocumented Young Adults”
Joél Orozco-Almeida – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2C: Education Workshop
“Sparking Minds of New Arrivals: Achieving Positive Educational Outcomes for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in Care”
Olivia Hogle – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Carlos de la Barrera – Bethany Christian Services
Charissa Boyd – Lutheran Social Services of Michigan
Janet Range – Leadership and Entrepreneurship Public (LEP) Charter High School - Portland, Oregon

2D: ELL & Dual Language Education Panel
ELL Research and Dual Language Policy Implementation

“Combatting Myths: Using Research and the Native Language to Improve K-12 ELL Programming”
Adrienne Johnson – Missouri Western State University

“Sheltered Instruction Methodology and K-6 Elementary School Teachers: A Multicase Study”
Uzziel Hernandez Pecina – University of Missouri-Kansas City

“The Dual Language Education Program of Delavan-Darien School District: A Case of Latino Community Leadership”
Jorge Inzunza, Berenice Solis, Cynthia Bell-Jimenez, and Joe Overturf – Turtle Creek Elementary School

Educational Language Policy and the New Latino Diaspora in Iowa
David Cassels Johnson, Stephanie Lynch, and Crissa Stephens – University of Iowa

2E: Health Presentation & Workshop
Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence In The Latino Community

“A Model for Latina Domestic Violence in New Gateways” (15 minute presentation)
Maria Belen Alcivar, Leah Kinnaird, and Janet Melby – Iowa State University

“De eso no se habla: Addressing Sexual Violence in the Latino Community through Partnerships with Community Leaders” (workshop)
Mariaeugenia Alcocer – Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) – Kansas City

2F: Youth Development Panel
Culturally Responsive Programs for Youth

“Culturally Responsive Program: The Transition from Mono-Cultural to Multi-Cultural 4-H Clubs”
Claudia P. Diaz Carrasco – University of California Cooperative Extension

“Developing a Behavioral Health Career Pipeline for Latino Youth in Nebraska”
Athena Ramos – University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Ann Kraft – Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
Natalia Trinidad and Antonia Correa – UNMC Center for Reducing Health Disparities

“Call for Collaboration: Developing Culturally Responsive College Recruitment and Retention Practices”
Mary Kindle, Elvera Satterwhite, and Angel Morales – Amigos de Cristo –Sedalia, Missouri

9:30 - 10:30 AM
Plenary 2:
“Kansas City’s Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative: Utilizing the Hispanic Needs Assessment as an Impetus for Action”
John Fierro – Mattie Rhodes Center
Kathryn Fuger – University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute for Human Development
Carlos Gomez – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City

10:45AM - 1:45PM
Site visits with boxed lunch. Participants may choose to visit one of the following:

A. Kansas City Hispanic Economic Development Corporation
HEDC was established in 1993 and is a certified 501(c) 3 not-for-profit Community Development Corporation (CDC). Founded for the purpose of developing and implementing economic development initiatives that would positively contribute to the quality of life for Latinos in the Greater Kansas City Area, HEDC utilizes its designation as a CDC to access various resources and tools while creating partnerships that allow the organization to continue to positively impact the communities it serves.
B. Alta Vista Charter Schools, Guadalupe Educational Systems, Inc
The Alta Vista Charter Schools include the Academia de Niños, a middle school and high school. Established in 1989, and becoming a charter school in 1999, Alta Vista has developed over the years a model of providing an educational setting that addresses the needs of its students, which have been predominately low-income, from the urban core, and of Hispanic heritage. Guadalupe Educational Systems also has extensive youth programming activities.
C. Kansas City Public Schools New American Academy Enrichment Program The New American Academy is a 6 week program that serves 50-60 of the most recent newly arriving English language learners grades 7-10. They rotate through ELA, math and a science/social studies classes during their 5 hour day, and also utilize digital math and language programs for individualized support.  The English intensive academic curriculum is theme-based and includes a culminating digital storytelling project based on expressing identity in a new culture.  Students participate in many enriching and engaging experience including field trips using the city bus and Teen Eats, a nutrition class and curriculum provided by Harvesters. 
D. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center (SURHC) is a federally-qualified community health center serving over 25,000 of Kansas City’s most medically underserved individuals each year. We provide high quality, compassionate, and affordable health care for adults, women, and children along with dental services, a pharmacy, imaging services, and an extensive Women, Infant, Children (WIC) program.  SURHC has been referred to as the “United Nations of Health Care in Kansas City” because of our extremely diverse patient population; we translated into over 35 different languages for our patients last year!  During the site visit at SURHC, you will hear from our staff about the challenges and barriers that they face when working with such a diverse population and learn about our recent project in conjunction with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to make waiting room videos promoting health literacy.  You will also have the opportunity to tour our state-of-the-art facility and see our best practices for working with immigrant and refugee populations in action.

E. Mattie Rhodes Center Mattie Rhodes Center is in our 121st year serving the Kansas City Community.  Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about our unique history and current programming. Our program offerings include Latino Cultural Arts, Bilingual Mental Health, Community Programs and Youth & Young Adult Services. During the visit, Mattie Rhodes Center staff will share about our agency, our programs and our dedication to serving the Latino community with quality, creative programming. 

2:00 - 3:00 PM
Plenary 3:
“Latino Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Lessons from Yesterday and for Tomorrow”
Mario Hernández - Latino Economic Development Center for Minnesota

3:15 - 4:30 PM
Breakout Session Block 3

3A: Changing Communities Panel
“Home on the Prairie – Service Learning as Inclusive Practice”
Michael Peters, Cristina Ortiz, Citlalli Ibañez, Ena Martinez, and Yessica Zúñiga-Tepango – University of Minnesota, Morris

3B: Economic Development and Civic Engagement Panel
Latino Civic Engagement and Context of Reception

“Discrimination in Small Town America: The Cases of Beardstown and Monmouth, IL”
Julia Albarracín – Western Illinois University

“Children of Immigrants, Legal Status, and Everyday Civic Work:  Lessons for Citizenship Education”
Lisa Dorner and Emily Crawford – University of Missouri-Columbia

“Latino Civic Engagement”
Daniel Vélez Ortiz – Julian Samora Research Institute

3C: Education Organized Panel
Newcomer Educational Needs and Literacies

“Immigrant Newcomer Youth and the Academic Consequences of Interrupted Schooling”
Stephanie Potochnick – University of Missouri

“Failing to Meet the Educational Needs of Young Hispanic Families in the Heartland”
Bertha Mendoza – Kansas States University Research and Extension

“Making Space for Sociocultural Literacies in Programmatic Family Literacy: The Experiences of Latina Mothers”
Jennifer Stacy – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Latinos in the Media: The Value of Critical Media Literacy”
Jessica Sierk – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3D: ELL & Dual Language Education Workshop
“Developing Academic Language Proficiency with English Language Learners (K-12)”
Katrina Lundien – Guadalupe Educational System, Inc. - Alta Vista Charter Schools

3E: Health Workshop
“Wrap-Around Maternal Mental Health Programming for Latinas”
Maria Torres, Sarah Caldera Wimmer, and Anne Farina – Kingdom House – St. Louis, Missouri

3F: Youth Development Panel
“4-H Programming for Latino Youth - A Collaboration”
This session will be the launch of a collaborative to more efficiently develop materials that best serve Latino youth.
Organized by Ricardo Diaz – University of Illinois Extension
Lisa Diaz – University of Illinois Extension
Zach Kennedy - University of Ilinois Extension
John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas – Iowa State University
And other invited speakers

7:30 PM
Vang – A Drama about Recent Immigrant Farmers
By Poet Laureate of Iowa Mary Swander, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Dennis Chamberlin, and ACT Kennedy Center award-winner Matt Foss.

Day 3 - Friday, June 12, 2015

8:00 AM
Coffee and continental breakfast

8:30 - 9:30 AM
Plenary 4
"Improving Health for Immigrant Populations:  The Role of a Health Care Foundation"
Bridget McCandless – Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City
"Health Care Access in Missouri: A Profile of the Latino Community"
Maria Rodriguez Alcala - University of Missouri-Columbia

9:45 - 10:45 AM
Breakout Session Block 4

4A: Changing Communities Panel
Inclusive and Multicultural Programs for Extension

“Community Ambassadors: Creating Inclusive Community with Vietnamese, East African, and Latino immigrant populations in Northeast Kansas City”
Daniel Cash – University of Missouri Extension

“Cross-Cultural Experiential Learning in El Salvador”
Nadia Navarrete-Tindall – Lincoln University

Improving the Health of Hispanic Families with an Extension Community–Based Curriculum Abriendo Caminos
Margarita Teran-Garcia and Angela R. Wiley – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

4B: Economic Development and Civic Engagement Workshop
“Immigrants as Assets: Framing the Discussion in Policy, Media and the Community”
Denzil Mohammed and Chiara Magini – The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

4C: Education Workshop
“The Impact of Cultural Bias on Latino Youth Educational Outcomes”
Lisa McCarty – Guadalupe Educational Systems - Alta Vista Charter Schools
Theresa Torres – University of Missouri-Kansas City
Cecilia Belser-Patton - Guadalupe Educational Systems - Alta Vista Charter Schools

4D: ELL & Dual Language Education Workshop
“Assistive Technology and Enhancing Instruction for English Learners”
Rhonda McMillen – Missouri Protection & Advocacy Services

4E: Health Panel
Research and Best Practices on Latino Access to Healthcare

“Health Care Access in Missouri: A Profile of the Latino Community”
Steve Jeanetta and Maria Rodriguez Alcala - University of Missouri-Columbia
Ioana Staiculescu and Shannon Canfield - MU Center for Health Policy

“Affordable Care Act Outreach & Enrollment Best Practices for Latino Communities”
Nancy Rios - Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

4F: Community Development Panel
“Integration and the Appreciative Inquiry Process: Leadership for Inclusive Communities”
Stephen Jeanetta, Corinne Valdivia, Lisa Y. Flores – University of Missouri-Columbia
Community leaders from rural Missouri

11:00 AM - Noon
Closing Session – Planning for the Future