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Johana Gourdin becomes National Undergraduate Fellow from NASPA

By Rose Gause
Mass Communica

J Gourdin

tion '20
Social Marketing Team writer

Frostburg State University student Johana Gourdin has been selected to become a National Undergraduate Fellow from NASPA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. NASPA is a large organization that provides students with high-quality professional development in the public affairs profession. The purpose of the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program is to bring opportunity to underrepresented students in that profession.    

Social activist T.J. Jourian highly recommended Gourdin to apply to the program. As an applicant, students are required to have a mentor so Gourdin reached out to Brian Medina to serve as her mentor. Along with a having a mentor, applicants are required to have an administrator in student affairs sign off on the applicant’s candidacy and mentor. Tom Bowling, Vice President of Student Affairs, was more than happy to serve as that administrator. Gourdin, who went through a rigorous application process to be a National Undergraduate Fellow a month ago, was recently chosen from a pool of other applicants. As a NASPA fellow, Gourdin will have access to programs and resources that will aid with professional and academic development in student affairs.

Gourdin is a senior, majoring in mass communication with a focus in graphic design. She is the creator of the on-campus organization Overcome and a graphic designer for the University Programming Council. She is an also an active member of Student Government Association, President's Leadership Circle, and SPECTRUM. She has served as a resident assistant and as president of Students for Women's Issues.  

"J Gourdin demonstrates the best that Frostburg State University has to offer. J strives courageously through adversity to empower marginalized students, overcoming challenges to create a better community for all. As a NASPA Fellow, J will have the opportunity to impact the larger field of Student Affairs. I am honored to serve as her mentor through this process, investing in her professional development as J confronts the hegemonic patriarchal higher education complex with poise and veracity," says Brian Medina, Assistant Director of the Residence Life Office.

After graduation Gourdin, wants to continue to be an advocate for students — especially since she has a lot of experience from looking at student’s perspectives from different communities and identity groups. She believes the best way she can do this is by being a graduate assistant while working towards her master's degree. From there, she plans to transition into the workplace and become an advocate for citizens. 

“It [NASPA] is pushing me to better professionally develop myself and really look at the experiences that I’m having my senior year and apply them to the workplace. I’m also looking at myself as a leader. It’s very different being a student leader and realizing that you might be someone’s boss. So, I am just checking myself and critically watching the leaders around me to figure out how I can prepare myself for that. I have enjoyed working in student affairs, student activities, and Greek life and it [NASPA] confirmed that I’m valid in feeling this way and also that I’m pretty good at it,” says Gourdin.  

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