On Saturday, March 7th 2015, Project MALES hosted the young men and staff of XY-Zone for Explore UT 2015. XY-Zone is a male leadership development and peer support program in Central Texas, that develops productive life skills in high school-aged, at risk youth.
This meeting introduced young male students of color to the University of Texas at Austin and the opportunities made possible through higher education. Project MALES mentoring staff and mentors welcomed a total of 20 students and 6 staff members to this event. Visiting campuses included Eastside Memorial, Elgin, Hays, Reagan, and Travis High School. Guest students began their day with a campus tour, visiting major landmarks on campus while exploring the various activities hosted by Explore UT. During lunch, Dr. Victor Saenz provided the young men with tips on how to become successful and shared information about the critical work Project MALES is doing around males of color. This event ended with Project MALES mentors facilitating student break out sessions focused on the educational pipeline.
Project MALES hopes to continue our partnership with XY-Zone through events like Explore UT. We look forward to continuing our commitment to partnering up with community organizations and working with youth.
This week we spotlight the work of Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen, Project MALES’s first Faculty Affiliate. Dr. Ozuna Allen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, at the University of Texas in Arlington. Dr. Ozuna Allen became a Faculty Affiliate with Project MALES in June 2014. Her research focuses on the educational experiences of under-represented student populations as they transition to four-year institutions.
Recently Dr. Ozuna Allen had the opportunity to participate in the 34th Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience, which took place in Dallas a few weeks ago. Dr. Ozuna Allen presented a paper on understanding the first-year experiences and perceptions of sense of belonging among Latino males enrolled in two, four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Texas. Dr. Ozuna Allen described her experience at this event:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. We had great discussion in our session, as well as other sessions I attended. The participants were engaging and dedicated to promoting student success in the first year and beyond. The conference was well attended and well organized. I recommend it to other administrators and researchers”.
Dr. Ozuna Allen also shared that in the future she is interested in expanding her research by developing “a longitudinal study that could follow a cohort of Latino males through their college experience at an HBCU to understand how their campus experiences influenced their long-term career or academic trajectory.”
We are honored to have Dr. Ozuna Allen as our inaugural Project MALES Faculty Affiliate, and we look forward to future research collaborations.