The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program connects undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin with Austin-area high school males. Partnering with the Austin Independent School District (AISD), Project MALES Student Mentors work with high school males in an effort to improve the educational attainment and college-going competencies of young men of color while also providing a safe space for these young students to discuss responsible manhood. The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program was piloted at William B. Travis Early College High School (ECHS) during the 2011-2012 academic year, we are now at Webb Middle School, Martin Middle School, Mendez Middle School, and Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy. We are also at the following high schools; Travis ECHS, Lanier High School, and Reagan ECHS in Austin ISD. This semester we have also added Lyndon B. Johnson ECHS as one of our new mentoring sites. Mentors visit with local high school students every week to mentor and discuss a variety of topics ranging from college preparation to financial literacy to the “soft” skills needed to succeed in college and beyond. For more information, contact Project MALES Director, Dr. Emmet Campos at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Since 2011, the Project MALES Student Mentoring Program has fostered discussion and relationship-building among male undergraduate mentors and male high school students in the Austin Independent School District. This model is a research-informed initiative that highlights mentoring as a way to leverage social capital among males of color at various points in the educational pipeline to ultimately build a stronger college-going culture among this group of students. The basic structure entails a “near-peer” mentoring philosophy, with college freshmen being paired with high school freshmen to allow for longer term bonds to develop.
The mentoring model takes a dynamic and intergenerational approach to achieve increased achievement and retention of male students of color both in secondary and postsecondary educational settings. This model brings together three key groups: (I) male professionals as role models, (II) current Latino male college students (both upperclassmen and first-years), and (III) younger Latino male students in local high schools. In this model, professionals (e.g., graduate students, student affairs practitioners, community leaders, and allies) serve as mentors to males of color in college. In turn, these college students have the opportunity to engage in mentoring local high school male students. This inter-generational model is structured around a variety of experiences that focus on leadership development, community engagement, and service. Mentors and mentees will engage in the following formal activities:
- Weekly or Bi-weekly guided, purposeful peer-mentoring sessions across generational lines (professionals to college students, college students to high school students)
- A weekly meeting among first-year college students (cohort-style experience) that will strengthen social bonds and cultivate a nurturing network between mentor participants
- A monthly Pláticas series that will feature prominent Latino male speakers (e.g., professionals, role models) that will facilitate small group discussions among mentor participants
- Semester-long community outreach and/or service projects that will involve both mentors and mentees at both participating colleges and high schools