MEN becomes a door to success for minority males

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Minority males can join an organization at this college called Men Empowerment Network to help them succeed academically.

Georgina Navarro

Project MALES at the University of Texas at Austin has awarded this college a $5,000 grant to implement a program to help Hispanic, African-American and Asian males achieve academic success.

MALES stands for Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success.

The program at this college, Men Empowerment Network, began in spring 2015, Mona Aldana-Ramírez, director of retention support service and student success, said Sept. 2.

The program offers mentors, focus groups, symposiums, leadership summits and conferences open to male minority students.

There will be the second annual spring conference at this college in May.

The program also covers the cost of students interested in attending conferences or symposiums outside San Antonio, Aldana-Ramírez said.

English literature sophomore Miguel Alcorn along with six other students attended the annual UT Male Student Leadership Summit in Austin Aug. 13-14.

“The (symposium) changed my life. I met so many people, so many resources and tools. The guest speakers had similar backgrounds as me. They made me want to work hard; they inspired me,” Alcorn said.

The keynote speakers from the symposium were Ernesto Mejia, Daron K. Roberts and Teresa Granillo, Ph.D., who shared the difficulties they faced throughout college.

Mejia has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lewis University.

Roberts is a former National Football League coach and director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at UT-Austin.

Granillois the executive director of Con Mi Madre, an organization that helps young Latinas and their mothers through education and support services.

Dr. Victor B. Sáenz, executive director of Project MALES, noticed minority males were an under-represented population in higher education, Aldana-Ramírez said.

Studies have shown minority women have outpaced minority men academically, she said.

The students in MEN at this college can meet with a faculty member and discuss their academic success through a mentoring program.

Aldana-Ramírez assigns a mentor for the students through a questionnaire as well as according to majors and interests.

The mentors are volunteer faculty members who want the students to succeed.

“Throughout a semester (students) meet with their mentor as needed. All faculty and staff are very much invested in the success of our students. Having them mentor our minority male students is a great resource for students,” she said.

On Aug. 26 the students from MEN recruited about 30 new students in the mall west of Moody Learning Center, Aldana-Ramírez said.

The program has shown positive results and has made students such as Alcorn feel comfortable.

“Last semester we had 14 mentees and this semester we are looking to expand — probably double the number,” Aldana-Ramírez said.

In 2011 at this college, 60 percent of African-American males and 64 percent of Hispanic males had grades of C or higher.

As of 2015, success rates for African-American males are at about 65 percent and Hispanics at 70 percent, she said.

For more information, email or visit Room 124 in Chance Academic Center.







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