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NCORE Webinar Series

We're not White: Racial Identity Construction of Arab American College Students



Recorded January 30, 2019

90 min  |  $25.00  |  Purchase this webinar

Session Description:

While most U.S. higher education institutions have adopted the federally designated race and ethnicity categories on their applications many sub-populations remain unrecognized and underserved. Arab American college students are one such example as they remain "invisible" in the "White" category. This session will provide a space in which participants can explore the issues that Arab American college students experience when exploring their identity through the lens of a study conducted on Arab Americans college students in the Chicago Metropolitan area. In addition, this session will investigate the issues surrounding the U.S. Census categorization of Arab Americans as "White". The presenter will share data collected from a study she conducted which focused on the central question: how do Arab American college students construct and understand their racial identity? Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the Arab American population and particularly college students of Arab descent whose stories will be shared during the presentation. This session should particularly benefit higher education practitioners and educators who are interested in race demographics, retention, support services and student sub-populations. No prior background knowledge is needed to attend this session.




Nina Shoman-Dajani, EdD

Assistant Dean of Learning Enrichment and College Readiness, Moraine Valley Community College

Dean Shoman-Dajani manages adult education programs that serve students from over 40 countries. She is the Moraine Valley community outreach chair for Mosaics: Muslim Voices in America—an initiative that focuses on educating the public about Muslim Americans through the arts. For the past nine years, she has volunteered as the advisor for the Arab Student Union, a student organization which organizes initiatives to educate fellow students and the campus community about Arab Americans and Arab culture and traditions. Prior to her work at Moraine Valley, Dr. Shoman-Dajani served as a Family Literacy Coordinator at the Arab American Action Network, a non-profit social service agency in Chicago. 

In addition, Dr. Shoman-Dajani works as an adjunct professor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Xavier University and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), where she teaches Arab American studies. 

Dr. Shoman-Dajani has been recognized with the Delores Huerta Activist Award for her commitment to social change from the Freedom Bound Center in Sacramento, California, and was honored with the Moraine Valley Embracing Diversity Award in recognition of the various initiatives she spearheaded to support students from diverse backgrounds. In 2017, she was honored by Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs with the Outstanding Commitment in Education Award. 

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies and her Master of Arts in International Affairs with a focus on U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy from California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Shoman-Dajani completed her Doctor of Education degree at Benedictine University in Higher Education and Organizational Change. Her doctoral research focused on the racial identity construction of Arab American college students. Dr. Shoman-Dajani’s passion for assisting students who come from underrepresented backgrounds fuels her drive to work in higher education.

presenter Nina Shoman-Dajani