The Spring 2017 semester was full of events and activities in which our undergraduate mentors, work-studys, UNL interns, staff, affiliates, and partners participated. Here are some of the highlights we would like to share that were included in our Spring 2017 Newsletter.
We begin by highlighting our mentoring program expansion and our graduating undergraduate student mentors. This semester our mentoring program expanded to Lyndon B. Johnson Early College High School and we continued building the pilot group at Mendez Middle School. The mentoring program also expanded by recruiting ten new University Leadership Network (ULN) interns to support our mentoring program. We look forward to Project MALES expanding in the fall by adding Burnet Middle School and East Side Memorial High School. Additionally, we will continue our efforts of strategic expansion and are exploring expansion outside the AISD into Manor ISD and KIPP. We also recognize our Project MALES graduating seniors, who over the years have been influential in supporting our young males of color at all levels of the educational pipeline in an effort to improve their overall educational attainment. This year, we will like to highlight our nine graduating seniors as they move on to post-secondary education and professional opportunities. Our graduating seniors include Esteban Fernandez, Miguel Gonzalez, Miguel Gonzalez, Hector Jacobo, Estela Lopez, Victoria Martinez, Toby Ramirez, Ana Serratos, and Ismael Silva.
This issue also highlights our research activities starting with the work our research team has been sharing at local, state, and national conferences. This semester, the research team shared preliminary findings from three years of engagement and research with the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (TECMSC). Our research team focused on four main themes discussed by Latino and African American male students, staff, faculty, and administrators across 17 educational institutions. Our preliminary findings were presented at the 42nd annual Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), the 12th annual American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), and at NCORE. In addition, we also feature the work by our Project MALES Faculty Affiliates including, research brief Issue 8 titled “Caught in-between: AfroLatino Males in Higher Education” by Dr. Claudia Garcia-Louis, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas of San Antonio, and Issue 9 titled, “Catching them Early: An Examination of Chicano/Latino Middle School Boys’ Early Career Aspirations” by Dr. Eligio Martinez, Jr., Visiting Assistant Professor in the Education Leadership Doctoral Program at California Polytechnic University-Pomona. Dr. Garcia-Louis research examines the lived experiences of AfroLatinx males in higher education and how they navigate a college campus. Dr. Martinez, Jr., research focuses on acknowledging the unique experiences of Chicano/Latino middle school boys and how they formulate their post-secondary aspirations.
Our consortium and advisory council events and activities are also highlighted. On Friday, February 10th, 2017 the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color (TECMSC) convened at the University of Texas San Antonio-Downtown Campus. Approximately 80 educational leaders from ISD’s, community colleges, and universities attended from across the state of Texas. During the event, we welcomed our six new Consortium institutional members: Del Mar College, Houston Community College, San Jacinto College, Texas Southmost College, Baylor University, and Texas Tech University. This was followed by Consortium and site Report updates from Dr. Victor Sáenz and Dr. Luis Ponjuán. In addition, our Consortium Advisory council met to continue their work on developing a Strategic Plan and Business model to guide the Consortium work forward. We have convened four strategy sessions with Council members facilitated by Dr. Luzelma Canales, Executive Director with RGV Focus, a renowned expert on building organizational sustainability. With Council leadership, we are exploring viability of four areas of funding; 1) continuing institutional support from our two lead institutions, UT Austin and TAMU; 2) revenue through Consortium partner fees; 3) revenue generated by Capacity Building Tools and Activities (CBTA) training and workshops; and 4) continuing to seek additional grant funding. We look forward to hosting our ninth Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color meeting at Tarrant County Community College in October.
We end our Spring newsletter by highlighting our two upcoming signature summer events. Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) will host its second Project MALES Summer Academy on July 19-22, 2017. The four-day Summer Academy is open to young men and women from Austin ISD middle and high schools. This year, Project MALES is partnering with Con Mi Madre, a nonprofit providing services to Latinas and their mothers that increase preparedness, participation, and success in post-secondary education. The theme this year is “Resiliency Through Leadership.” The Project MALES Summer Academy will feature four days of workshops and sessions that focus on building leadership skills, communication skills, and creative activities. Our mission continues to center on improving educational outcomes and opportunities for young male and female students of color in the Central Texas region. This event is made possible by the generous funding from the Kresge Foundation. Our second signature event, the Texas Male Student Leadership Summit will take place at The University of Texas at Austin on August 17-18, 2017 at the Student Activity Center. This year marks the 4th year that we have hosted our Leadership Summit which is an invite-only event for institutional members of the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. The Summit brings together male students of color, as well as faculty, staff, and administrators from K-12 and higher education institutions from across the state of Texas, who are dedicated to their academic and personal success. This year we are excited to announce that our featured keynote speaker is Dr. Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder of Homies Empowerment Program. Dr. Cruz is an author, youth activist, Harvard graduate, and has been an educator for almost two decades. He was born in Juchitlan, Jalisco, Mexico and migrated to the states at about age 9. Our program this year as always highlights our students and student voice and features two student tracks, a panel of student leaders, student convening, and an arts, poetry and spoken word segment. This year, we are introducing a “President’s Panel” made up of state and national educational leaders who are engaged in work on behalf and with male students of color. We are looking forward to bringing you the highlights of the Project MALES Summer Academy and the Texas Male Student Leadership Summit.
For more information, please visit our Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color websites, http://diversity.utexas.edu/projectmales/ where you can find weekly updates about our work here at Project MALES. For the full version of the fall newsletter click here.