Dr. Sadaf Rauf Shier is the Muslim Chaplain at St. Thomas University. NVF students went on a field trip to St. Thomas to learn more about the campus and its educational opportunities and Dr. Shier co-led the tour with her colleagues. For students, representation is very important and Dr. Shier herself connected to the students by sharing the same faith. She educated NVF students about the kinds of support and guidance provided to them from the Chaplain. For students to be successful in higher education support is needed, and this support may come from family, friends, mentors, etc. but Shier is a consistent pillar of support on campus for students to easily access.
Our students gained a better understanding of the guidance provided by Dr. Shier and other faculty members. They saw that there is current representation for them as Dr. Shier herself is a minority representative. For students to know that they will have support from someone like Dr. Shier in the future, will further their own interest in possibly attending St. Thomas. Dr. Shier's tour sparked interest in the university for some students. This is an initiation of the pipeline process of students joining St. Thomas in the future. Minority representatives are very important to in higher education because students want to know that the support they need will be provided and it will be easier for them to build connections this way. The students appreciated the tour from Dr. Shier and they were very much inspired to know that someone that shares the same background as them holds a respected and valuable role at the University. When institutions embrace our kids and the diversity and background they bring, this leads to a more inclusive and successful educational environment.