About Us

The Native American Support Program (NASP) cultivates an environment supportive of positive experiences for Native American and Indigenous students at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).


NASP Overview

A few words about our identity in today’s world

The Native American Support Program (NASP) provides opportunities to enhance Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders and Indigenous students’ growth and development, academic achievement, and leadership building. Indigenous teachings that emphasize the holistic philosophy are incorporated into student development to guide and instill the principles of responsibility to themselves, their education and community.

For over 45 years, NASP has assisted Native and Indigenous students earn their degrees and become leaders in their communities. It has played a key role in providing academic and professional development services to students. The services focus on enhancing student success and serving as an avenue to heighten their university and community experiences.

Student Success

NASP endeavors to contribute to the success of Native American and Indigenous students at UIC by:
  • Serving as advocates for students’ access to higher education
  • Assisting students in developing and achieving educational goals
  • Providing an environment that recognizes the diversity of backgrounds and learning styles of the students
  • Assisting students in attaining internships, fellowships, scholarships, and applying to graduate school, research and employment opportunities
  • Developing collaborative relationships with institutions, organizations, schools, parents, families, and communities to promote a setting conducive to the completion of a postsecondary degree
  • Providing support and mentoring with a purpose of developing the well-being of students through self-determination, academic success, and community service
  • Connecting students on campus and adjusting them to college life by connecting students when needed to counseling, tutoring and peer groups to help them excel academically
Meet The Team

Cynthia Soto   /   Director

Cynthia Soto ( Sicangu Lakota/Puerto Rican), Director, earned her B.A. in Elementary Education, an Illinois K-9 Certification, an Illinois Teachers License, and a M.A. in Education-Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a first generation college student and graduate of UIC, she is well acquainted with the challenges facing Native American students and the opportunities available to them on campus, in their communities and on a national level. Cynthia has worked within education for almost 20 years from early childhood education programs to higher education.  She helped both students and adults access college resources and built working relationships that have lasted many years. Cynthia understands that for Native American students, a holistic approach is crucial to their success, and she employs this technique skillfully in her interactions with students and their families.


Carol Parks  – Office Support Associate 

Carol Parks is NASP´s office support associate and has been the foundation of the program with a service of over 31 years. Carol has established a working relationship with key personnel from other departments and is particularly knowledgeable about policies and procedures in regards to solving multilayered issues. Besides being the backbone of NASP, Carol maintains a close relationship to current students and alumni that have since relied on her for advice and a smile.

Take It From Them!

Here’s what people are saying about us.
NASP, was my home away from home. I was welcomed and included.Heather Farina, MSW 2009
To this day I credit finding my niche in the Chicago Native community to building a strong relationship with NASP.Lori Faber, LAS 2008
NASP has allowed me to build friendships, both academically and professionally, with other members of the organization.Adam Fahey, LAS 2001
The Native American Support Program is important to me because it allows me to connect to my heritage.Michael Pak, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
The NASP is fundamental for continuing my education as an Indigenous 
Engineer. The program allows me to establish and embrace my identity while solidifying my academic path.Ninoshka Llontop Lozano, Sophomore, Engineering
I have received very positive support and influence through my involvement with the Native American Support Program.Lane Mita, Senior, Business Administration
It’s an environment where I focus on academics with advisors that care and want to ensure that we don’t fall behind in school but also one where other students talk about their heritage. I honestly love walking in the office….Horalia Armas, Sophomore, LAS