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Recap: Project MALES 10-Year Celebration

Patrick Valdez PM

Project MALES commemorated its 10-year milestone at a virtual event titled “A Decade of Empowering Male Students of Color” on Thursday, April 29. Visit the Project MALES website to watch the full video.

Below are a few highlights from the event featuring the many students, faculty and research affiliates, mentors and higher education leaders who made Project MALES a success throughout this past decade. You can also follow the online conversation at #PM10YR.


PM 10 YR leadership photo
UT Austin leaders Dr. LaToya Smith and Dr. Maloch shared opening remarks—saluting Project MALES for its state- and nation-wide impact.

“We owe Project MALES and the vision of Dr. Sáenz and Dr. Ponjuán a debt of gratitude for showing us the possibility of what higher education—its values, research and practice—can do when it joins together with communities.” —Dr. Beth Maloch, senior associate dean, College of Education

“On behalf of the Division, I want to extend a sincere congratulations to Dr. Sáenz, Dr. Ponjuán and Dr. Campos for their dedication in helping Latino and Black males succeed—not only personally but academically and professionally.” — Dr. LaToya Smith, vice president of diversity and community engagement

Project MALES fireside chat
During the fireside chat, Project MALES Co-Founders Dr. Victor Sáenz (pictured right) and Dr. Luis Ponjuán (pictured left) reminisced on the program’s early beginnings—a light bulb moment that started on a napkin—and how it evolved over the years with help from key stakeholders and supporters.

“We’re here to celebrate ten years, but we’re also celebrating the amazing people on our team who have contributed to our success.” — Dr. Sáenz, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy and professor in the Program in Higher Education Leadership

“We would not be here without the work of the brothers who have paved the way for us…It has been a great privilege to have been given the mentors and leaders who saw the promise in us.”—Dr. Ponjuán, associate professor, Educational Administration and Human Resources Development, Texas A&M University

The event also included student, alumni and mentor testimonials and well wishes from members of the Tenth Anniversary Honorary Committee. 

Gregory Vincent PM event
“I was immediately impressed with Dr. Sáenz’s vision to reach out to Latino boys and men. He has fulfilled that promise and more…I’m elated but not surprised to see that the program, ten years later, has continued to flourish.” —Dr. Gregory Vincent, executive director and professor, University of Kentucky; former vice president of diversity and community engagement, UT Austin

PM Honorary Committee
“In the next 10 years, I look forward to moving the needle and advancing so we can have equitable outcomes for males of color.” —Dr. Luzelma Canales, associate vice president, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity

PM William Serrata
“Degree attainment gap continues to expand between men and women. Addressing this gap must be a priority. More latino males must find the path to higher education. This gap is significant, must be addressed and has ramifications for our society.”— Dr. William Serrata, president of El Paso Community College

“Great work for our communities is not done for recognition. It’s done because it’s the right thing to do.” —Patrick Valdez, vice president of program strategy, 2U, Inc.

The event concluded with an awards ceremony honoring the program’s longtime supporters.

PM award winners
“We’re so thankful for the key members of our Project MALES Familia who have partnered with us over the years to help us serve our school districts here in Austin.” —Dr. Emmet Campos, director of Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium

More About Project MALES
Established in fall 2010, Project MALES includes three initiatives with national, state and local impact: a research institute that disseminates emerging research on males of color in education, the Texas Education Consortium for Males Students of Color, and a student mentoring program embedded within local school districts. All of the interrelated initiatives work toward helping the state of Texas reach its goals outlined in the 60x30TX plan, which calls for 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 to hold a certificate or degree by 2030.