General UCSD NewsGeneral UCSD News
 September 12, 2000

Media Contact: Michael Dabney,(858) 822-0761; or Rafael Hernandez, (858) 534-4250 



Geneva Lofton Fitzsimmons has been appointed coordinator of the American Indian Outreach Initiatives Program at the University of California, San Diego. In this new post under the university's Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), Fitzsimmons will serve as an important liaison between UCSD and the American Indian community, helping to identify, motivate and prepare American Indian students in middle school and high school for successful admission and enrollment to the university.

Fitzsimmons comes to EAOP with 20 years of experience in social services, which has included working and living in the American Indian community. Before her EAOP appointment, Fitzsimmons was career counselor at Lockheed Martin IMS, Escondido, and helping individuals on public assistance to move from dependency to self-sufficiency through employment.

"I am thoroughly excited about my appointment and the opportunity it presents to build a viable bridge between UCSD and the American Indian community," says Fitzsimmons, "including developing ways to enhance tutorial, study skill and other college-prep programs for Indian students, as well as increasing the awareness and access to other important support mechanisms such as financial aid opportunities and UCSD campus life experiences."

At UCSD, she will be involved in reaching out to the American Indian community in San Diego and Imperial counties (including 18 tribal reservations) while working closely with other outreach programs at EAOP and other areas at UCSD to begin establishing long-term academic relationships with American Indian students. These initiatives include: implementing effective tutoring and mentoring programs honing students' PSAT and SAT test-taking skills, monitoring and tracking students' academic progress, exposing them to campus tours and summer residential experiences at UCSD, and providing students and their parents with information on University of California admission requirements and financial assistance programs.

"Geneva is indeed a welcome addition to UCSD's and EAOP's mission to increase enrollment of underrepresented and low-income students here," says Rafael Hernandez, EAOP director. "The American Indian population represents an important segment of our community, and this new program, like the goal of other EAOP initiatives, is intended to have a direct impact on participants' grade point averages, test scores and other factors through year-round academic preparation and motivation, which will include tracking and documenting student progress," says Hernandez.

Currently, American Indians comprise almost 1 percent of UCSD undergraduate student enrollment, and make up almost 2 percent of the middle school and high school population in San Diego and Imperial counties, according to the latest statistics from UCSD and the California Department of Education.

Fitzsimmons, who holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administration from San Diego State University, and an associate of arts degree in general education from Palomar College, San Marcos, CA, has also served as child care director at Pauma Indian Reservation, CA; education director at La Jolla Indian Reservation, CA, and caseworker at the Indian Child Welfare Consortium, Escondido, CA.

She is past chair of the La Jolla Tribal Council, and past chair of the North County Indian Education Council where she remains a member. In addition, she is a member of the California Indian Education Council, and the National Indian Education Council.