Kevin Nguyen-Stockbridge’s journey at Chapman University is both personal and professional.
Nguyen-Stockbridge (Ph.D. ’17), who will be Chapman’s first director of LGBTQ pride and achievement starting in early June, was reckoning with his identity while in the education doctoral program at Attallah College of Educational Studies.
He’d been in what has been called conversion therapy for several years. In his first year in the Ph.D. program, a professor “facilitated me thinking about my identities,” he says.
“In the midst of the Ph.D. program, I came out to my cohort,” he says. “So I came into my queerness at Chapman. And it shaped my study of education.”
Professor Ian Barnard invited him to teach in the LGBTQ Studies program, and “I dove in and I loved it,” Nguyen-Stockbridge says.
He became North Dakota State University’s first LGBTQ and inclusion coordinator, then returned to Chapman to teach at Attallah. Before starting his new role, he was project manager at Thompson Policy Institute on Disability for CalEPIC, which gives technical help to teacher education programs at private California universities as they seek to advance equity and inclusion in education.
“Chapman has many talented individuals who work daily to further diversity, equity and inclusion in unique and varying capacities,” says Reg Chhen Stewart, Chapman’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. “We were very fortunate to have someone of Kevin’s immense talent in our own backyard.”
Nguyen-Stockbridge was excited about the creation of the LGBTQ achievement director position, which he’d hoped for since teaching adjunct at Chapman.
“There was something about being with students, staff and faculty moving toward a more inclusive world,” he says. “I have a heart for the whole of the Panther Family.”
Nguyen-Stockbridge wants to create and expand spaces where LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty can thrive at Chapman.
“We’re quite a large community, a rainbow community, and within that community we all have particular experiences of the world and Chapman,” he says.
He plans on more educational events and initiatives, like taking advantage of LGBT History Month in October.
“For a while, Garden Grove had the largest number of queer establishments in the area,” he says. “Even in our own region there is a lot of LGBTQIA history to highlight and build on.”
He appreciates Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff members’ awareness that people on Chapman’s campus hold intersecting identities.
“I’m particularly excited to not work in a silo but together with others in the DEI office to make sure students feel belonging across the entire campus, recognizing that we all have many intersecting identities,” he says.
Stewart says that each member of the search committee – which included a trustee, students, staff and faculty – brought diverse perspectives to choosing the new LGBTQ achievement director from a strong pool of candidates.
Nguyen-Stockbridge allows the DEI office “to continue to expand our reach toward supporting Chapman’s LGBTQIA population,” Stewart says.
“We could not have found a better fit as year two of building this division draws to a close,” he says.