Felisia J. Tagaban (Diné/Tlingit/Filipino) is a first-year doctoral student in the Educational Policy Studies and Practice Department at the University of Arizona (UA). Felisia obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) and Master of Arts (Higher Education) degrees at the University of Arizona. Currently, Felisia serves as a graduate assistant for the Native SOAR (Student Outreach Access and Resiliency) service-learning course, a multigenerational mentoring program that centers the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native students throughout the K-20 educational system. While equipping UA undergraduates enrolled in Native SOAR, Felisia also provides culturally responsive mentoring and support services for Indigenous middle and high school students as they explore their options in higher education.
In addition to Felisia's student advocacy in Native SOAR, she has also been instrumental in creating collective impact as it pertains to the UA's service and support for Indigenous students, faculty, staff and communities. Through activism and her involvement in a student led movement to Indigenize the University, Felisia continues to call for accountability regarding the institution's allocation of resources and response to Indigenous issues.
Shortly after the onset of campus closure due to COVID-19, Felisia and two other Indigenous educators identified and responded to the immediate need for support for Native and Native-serving educators. Felisia co-founded a community collective called Indigenous Educators Unite (IEU) and since April 2020, IEU has held space for educators to find community, create solutions, and attend workshops.
As she completes her first year of the HED PhD program, Felisia continues to be driven by her passion for supporting Indigenous college students.