Allen College Reaches Out, Supports Minorities

March 31, 2010

WATERLOO, Iowa—Allen College is building a bridge for minority students in the Cedar Valley—a bridge to connect you to an education in healthcare. The College’s new Office of Diversity Services wants you to know about the rewards of a healthcare career. Education for that career is available close to home at Allen College.

The Allen College Office of Diversity Services opened just over a year ago. Located in a diverse community, the college recognized a need to increase minority-recruiting efforts and build support for minority students on campus.

“One of our early steps has been to reach out to minority students through presentations to schools, churches and community groups,” says Doreen Mingo, assistant professor and a coordinator for the Allen diversity service program. Mingo enjoys the rewards of her nursing career and works to spark interest healthcare careers by sharing her experiences. “I try to help them understand what’s out there and what it’s like to make a difference in the lives of people.”

The college also hosts minority students on campus. Recently at Allen, nearly 50 students from Waterloo’s George Washington Carver Academy and Hoover Middle School experienced hands-on activities in nursing, medical laboratory science, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, radiography and diagnostic medical technology. They learned about ultrasound machines, how to draw blood, examine specimens under microscopes, properly position patients for x-rays and more. Students also heard from healthcare professionals who do these jobs everyday and learned about training and salary levels.        

The efforts are making a difference, minority enrollment at Allen College has doubled over the past year and students on campus benefit from a new support system.

“The Office of Diversity Services provides an opportunity for voices and concerns to be heard and for students to share experiences,” says Nsia Kileo, a third semester student from Tanzania who is earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. “It’s a group to identify with and to share ideas. It’s raising awareness of diversity on campus.

”Kileo recently graduated from Wartburg College with a biology degree. Her enrollment at Allen is another sign of the school’s diversity focus.

Wartburg is one of many institutions and organizations Allen works with to better serve minorities. The Allen College Diversity Advisory Council is comprised of 34 invited members of the community. In addition to Wartburg, council members include representatives from University of Northern Iowa, and Hawkeye Community College; Allen Hospital and Covenant Hospital employees; local churches; and area schools and nonprofits that serve the Cedar Valley’s minority population.

The council meets quarterly to get a feel for what the college is doing. It provides valuable feedback from the community the college serves.

The Office of Diversity Services meets regularly with students on campus to support the growing Allen College minority student population.

“We discuss what’s going well and we do problem solving,” says Mingo. “It’s an opportunity for peer-to-peer support. We’re working to foster an environment for students to connect and support each other.”

Learn more about Allen College at Contact Doreen Mingo with the Allen College Office of Diversity Services at 319-226-2049, or


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