Senior nationally recognized for work to make education more inclusive, culturally responsive

Arianna Bustos is one of 173 students selected for prestigious Newman Civic Fellowship

When Arianna Bustos was growing up, she didn't have teachers that looked like her in the classroom.

"I came to college wanting to be the teacher that I never had in K-12," Bustos said. "I never really had teachers who fully understood the experience of being a student of color. They weren't well versed in how to teach and cater to the needs of students of color — the cultural, social and socioeconomic needs weren't part of classroom culture."

Inspired to be the change she wanted to see, Bustos, an education major at Bowling Green State University, immediately immersed herself in classes and activities with hopes of changing the experience for future students of color.

"I want to show students of color there are teachers who know and understand what they're going through," Bustos said.

At BGSU, the 21-year-old Fremont, Ohio, native has dedicated her studies to creating learning environments that support the needs of students of color. She has also worked to address inequitable teaching frameworks that affect teachers of color. It's work Bustos said she couldn't have done without help from College of Education and Human Development faculty.

Now as she prepares to graduate, Bustos has been selected as a 2022-23 Newman Civic Fellow for her commitment to addressing ways to help future teachers become inclusive and culturally responsive educators. The BGSU senior is one of 173 student civic leaders from across North America selected for this year's prestigious fellowship.

"I don't know how else to describe it other than amazing," Bustos said. "It feels like the cherry on top of my senior year."

Through the fellowship, Bustos will join other changemakers and public problem-solvers from 38 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico for a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Fellows also participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to provide them with the skills and connections needed to create long-term, positive social change. Additionally, fellows are provided with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate long-term civic engagement opportunities.

Bustos' selection as a Newman Civic Fellow marks the second consecutive year that a BGSU student has earned the distinction. Anthony King, BRAVE founder and communications major, was selected as a 2021-22 fellow for his community-enriching activism work.

As a fellow, Bustos said she's looking forward to connecting with other students and learning about the purposes that drive them to create change in the world.

"I hope to connect with other student leaders who have the same passion as me," Bustos said. "It will be amazing to connect with other education majors who want to help advance inclusion and culturally responsive teachings in the classroom."

After graduation, Bustos will continue pursuing that passion for improved educational processes as she works toward a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching at BGSU.

"Arianna champions K-12 culturally responsive teaching and learning driven by her belief that ‘minority’ student populations deserve equity at all levels of education," said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers, who nominated Bustos for her public leadership abilities. "She is committed to a M.Ed. program in Curriculum and Teaching at BGSU for academic year 2023, and to continuing her advocacy and activism around work on our campus and at the state level."

When her educational journey at BGSU comes to a close, Bustos said she plans to go into teaching itself or become an advocate for inclusive and culturally responsive education. Either way, she'll still be championing for students of color.

"I want to be the representation that I never got in K-12," Bustos said. "I want to show other students of color that they can do whatever they set their mind to, regardless of the background they come from."

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 10/16/2023 10:00AM