November: Meet Stacie Taniguchi

Hello! My name is Stacie Taniguchi and I am the Multicultural Center Program Coordinator at Portland State University. I grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara to study Film & Media Studies. Before I began college, I was certain I was going to follow the footsteps of my childhood role model, Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, and become a journalist. Like many college students, once I arrive at my institution, I changed my major a few times once I realized that journalism wasn’t the best fit for me. I landed in the Film and Media Studies department where I fell in love with media criticism and analysis. I took many classes that discussed film from a feminist, queer, and person of color perspective and I learned how to articulate ideas that had previously been floating around in my head. This led me to become involved with several student groups including the Student Commission for Racial Equality and the PRIDE Committee which sparked my on-campus involvement.

I held several jobs including a short stint in the dining commons (which has given me enormous respect for anyone who works in the food service industry), a summer as a teaching assistant at a childcare center, and finally ended up working at the Women, Gender, and Sexual Equity department as a marketing and programming assistant at the Women’s Center. Similar to many student affairs professionals, I didn’t realize the profession existed until I was a college student. I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Women’s Center, and because of an exceptional mentor who was the Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at the time; I began wondering how I could end up with a job like his.

He guided me through the existential crisis that many graduating seniors encounter as commencement approaches. My journey after graduating from UCSB led me to the University of West Georgia to study Professional Counseling and College Student Affairs. I knew I wanted to pursue the area of multicultural affairs in higher education and felt that it was necessary to go outside of my comfort zone of Southern California to explore the culture and needs of students outside of my bubble.

I worked in both the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of First-Year Experience. But assistantships gave me a wide variety of experiences that have been extremely valuable to my professional and personal development. I struggled with some of the cultural differences, but upon graduating I found that these challenges gave my experience in the Southeast a deep richness. One of my roommates in Georgia grew up in Vancouver, WA and when I saw a job in Portland come up, she encouraged me to apply telling me that I would love the Northwest.

Fast forward to a few months before graduating, I moved to Portland when I was offered my current position. I finished graduate school remotely thanks to some very accommodating professors. Now at PSU, I’ve been fortunate to learn and grow alongside some incredible colleagues and energetic student leaders. Being a new professional comes with some interesting obstacles, but I have been fortunate enough to find support throughout my journey. February 2015 will mark one year in Oregon for me, and I am excited to continue learning and growing in the Northwest!

On a personal note, I enjoy travelling (I try to make it back to Los Angeles to see my family and friends as often as I can), attempting to cook (I’ve come a long way since the top ramen days of undergrad but still have a ways to go), and consuming a large amount of media (that I still analyze and critique.)
Some advice that I would pass along to other women along their journey…

  1. Self-care: A common sentiment that I have found amongst my peers is the desire to impress your colleagues when you begin a new position at a new institution. But burn out happens when you constantly are going above and beyond. I encourage other women to consider a few things they can practice in order to combat burn out. For me, I always try and find time to exercise. When I’m stressed about a work task, I try and work that out by running or taking classes at my gym that challenge me.
  2. Maintain your support network: During my career in student affairs I have been fortunate to meet some phenomenal professionals who have become dear friends. I feel that fostering these relationships is important. My friends act as resources when I encounter a problem and as sounding boards when I need to vent. Without a strong support network, challenges can seem unmanageable.

Connect with Leaders

Networking with women, non-binary, and trans leaders in the state of Oregon will enhance your professional experience. We look forward to creating opportunities to meet, connect and develop together.

Engage in Professional Development

Participate in opportunities for professional growth through educational programs that are provided by our campus contact network right on your campus, in your region or at a state wide gathering. The focus is on providing you with the leadership skills and mentoring necessary to lead.

Lead Change in Higher Education

Higher education in the state of Oregon provides a dynamic environment where women, non-binary, and trans people can impact change. Whether in the community college, 4-year institution, public, or private, we want you to be a part of shaping the future of higher education by empowering and affirming your leadership abilities.