This semester I got the opportunity to attend the Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference in San Francisco. This was my first time attending the AFP conference and I had a great experience and gained skills from attending the panels, workshops, and listening to the guest speakers.

The first day of the conference there was a networking session for first timers. At first, I was a bit nervous, but I remembered the tips Laurie Diamant gave us in the “How to Work the Room” session in the Capacity Building course. I got to exchange my business cards with multiple people and had a great time getting to know them. I then made my way to the Native American table, because I noticed that there was only two individuals sitting there. As I made my way to the table, I noticed that other Humanics scholars headed to the table as well. Yenedit, Michael, Samantha, and I were able to share what we have learned through Humanics. As a senior Humanics scholar, I was happy to see my fellow scholars sharing their stories, experiences, and knowledge at the conference.

Humanics Scholars, Navmit Dhesi and Trent Ebaugh, were on the “Young Fundraisers Make a Difference & Why You Need to Engage Them Now!” panel and shared their experiences with Humanic and the philanthropy they engaged in when they were in high school. Navmit and Trent were joined by a Humanics Alum, Correen Campos, the Executive Director of Focus Forward. Navmit got to share on her work with Catholic Charities and Camp Kesem. They were joined by other young professionals who shared their experiences and tools on how to engage young professionals. . It was a great panel and I noticed that people were astonished by how great the Humanics Program at Fresno State is. Being the largest AFP collegiate chapter in the world is amazing. Navmit, Trent, and Correen shared great tools and strategies on how to teach fundraising and philanthropy to young people and how to engage them.

Humanics Scholars gathered for a group photo after Navmit, Trent, and Correen’s Panel.

The next session I attended was “Accepting Gifts from Pablo Escobar…and Other Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Fundraisers and NGOs.” This session was held by Robbe Healey and Paul Strawhecker who are both AFP Master Trainers and ACFRE.  Robbe spoke on if it would be ethical for a CBO receive a gift from Pablo Escobar. Most people in the room stated that I would not be ethical, especially of the CBO mission was to eradicate drugs in low-income areas.  Robbe posed a question, “Do you all believe in second chances?” She stated that there is a difference between ethical and moral. She stated that she would give Pablo Escobar a opportunity to redeem himself and if she were the Executive Director she would take the gift. Robbe and Paul shared the AFP Code of Ethics, which we learn in Humanics.

On Sunday we got to hear Shiza Shahid speak on The Malala Fund and Now Ventures. I was so amazed by her public speaking skills and her work. Seeing a woman of color succeed motivates me to continue furthering my education and engaging with my community. When Shiza mentioned that she had to make a choice to attend Stanford or stay in Pakistan, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to travel to the other side of the world. When Malala was shot, Shiza decided to stop what she was doing and headed to Malala’s side to help her tell her story, so no one else experiences what Malala went through.  I was so inspired by Shiza and her work and glad that I got to take a picture with her. Thanks Cristel!

 I got the opportunity to be on a panel with Dr. Don Simmons called “Considerations for “360 Degree Leadership.” I’ve had the privilege of having some great mentors, who have dedicated their time and resources to help me academically and I’ve also had mentors who have helped me grow as a person and one of them is Dr. Matthew Jendian.  I want to focus on another mentor I’ve had, Millie Medina.  For one of our Humanics SOC 186S course, each Humanics scholar is matched with a Humanics Alumni who has similar interests. As my emphasis is education, specifically pedagogy and inequality in our education system,  I was matched with Millie Medina. Millie is a Latinx woman and the current Interim Project Director of Cal-SOAP. The reason why this mentorship is important to me is because is representation matters.

If representation didn’t matter, do you think Cleve Joves would be where he is, if Harvey Milk hadn’t been his mentor? Millie is a Latinx women who is only a few years older than me. Millie’s emphasis is education. She helped me with my resume and CV. She helped me look for graduate programs. She told me about her experiences as a Latinx women in academia and in the social sector. Having this mentorship helped me believe in myself and brought to reality my dream of getting my PHD in Sociology.  Understanding the intersectionality of our identities and how they interact with society is important. I am glad Humanics paired me with Millie!



Overall, I had a great time at the AFP Conference. I learned new skills and was able to share what I’ve learned in Humanics with others. Also, I was able to learn and expand my friendships with the Humanics scholar who attended. Thank you to all who contributed to the Humanics program! Your support is greatly appreciated!