Over the years Project MALES has been fortunate to have many student leaders and mentors come through our ranks. In particular, our undergraduate mentors and work-study students work with young males of color at all levels of the educational pipeline in an effort to improve their overall educational attainment. In addition, Project MALES also aims to increase the year-to-year retention and graduation rates among its own members, including encouraging mentors and work-study students to pursue graduate or professional degrees. Recently, we caught up with two alumNI of our Project MALES student mentor program pursuing their academic and professional goals.

Irene Acosta (LMSW)Irene PM Newsletter
Irene was active with Project MALES during the 2012-2014 academic years. She is currently pursuing a career goal as a Children’s Counselor, providing psychotherapy to children and adolescents at Roxane’s House in the Hays and Caldwell Child Advocacy Center. Kudos to Irene as she continues her commitment to social change and public service in the Central Texas region. You make us proud! Irene shared this about his experiences with Project MALES.

How did you become involved with Project MALES?
I became involved with Project MALES after having a conversation with a close friend at an organization fair where he was providing information about Project MALES. I saw the need for this organization and wanted to become part of the organization.

What was your role with Project MALES?
During the 2012-2013 academic school year, my first year with Project MALES, I mentored a student from Lanier High School. The year after, I transitioned to being a graduate mentor, which allowed me the opportunity to mentor an undergrad student at UT Austin.

How did your experience with Project MALES support you in your current graduate program or career?
The mentoring I participated in through Project MALES allowed me to expand my cultural competence that has been of great resource as I continue my clinical practice. I had not been exposed to high school populations or high school male student specific research. A major goal a psychotherapist has going into clinical sessions with clients is being able to build a strong therapeutic relationship and Project MALES allowed me to practice such skills. Overall, Project MALES provided new insight to a population I was not familiar with and a variety of skills I continue to use in my career as a social worker.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Project MALES?
Project MALES provided an opportunity for me to make a difference in the Austin community, but also allowed me to reap amazing benefits from the program. Some benefits such as stipends, socializing with other like-minded individuals, and learning transferable skills.

Andreyez AlvaradoAndreyez PM Web
Andreyez is proud to be one of the founding members of our Project MALES’ student mentors program. He became involved with Project MALES in fall 2011 during our pilot year of our mentoring program at Travis High School in the Austin ISD. Andreyez is currently a second year master’s student in the College and University Student Personnel Administration program; in the Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL) at the University of Texas Austin. We are so proud of Andreyez for his continuing commitment to his own educational advancement and pursuit of his career goals. Andres shared this about his experiences with Project MALES.

How did you become involved with Project MALES?
I became involved with Project MALES after being a participant in the initial qualitative research. Once the program was created, I enthusiastically signed on to be a part of the development of the mentorship program.

What was your role with Project MALES?
I was one of the first 10 mentors that helped formulate the mentor curriculum implemented in the first semester of mentoring. In the second year of mentoring, we created the Project MALES student organization. In the organization I served as Vice President until December of the fall semester of 2012. As vice president I assisted the president with creating student cohesion through volunteer opportunities, social events, and fundraising opportunities.

How did your experience with Project MALES support you in your current graduate program or career?
Through my time working with Project MALES I found my passion for higher education. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the students within the program, as well as the high school students we mentored at Travis High School. I knew that I was afforded opportunities that made my college education a possibility, which fueled my continued interest in higher education.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Project MALES?
My collective experience in Project MALES is one that I would not trade for the world. Through the everyday work of the program, I know that students in high school, college, and postgraduate work will have the courage and resources to successfully continue through their education. The ways in which the mentors and mentees impact each other’s lives is indescribable.

Project MALES is proud of Irene, Andreyez, and all its alumni who are now pursuing their academic and professional goals. We look forward to our 2015 graduates and following their academic and professional trajectories. Hook’em Horns!

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Over the course of our collaborations with internal and external partners, one of the frequent questions we get is, “Can female students get involved with Project MALES?” Our response has always been, “Yes, absolutely…almost half of our mentors are female.” Borne out of our research work, we have learned that women can play a pivotal positive role in motivating young males of color to pursue and persist in higher education, be it mothers, sisters, friends, or partners. Some young men are more responsive to female mentors because they have license to be more vulnerable and perhaps forge lasting mentoring relationships with their mentor. Since we began our mentoring efforts, Project MALES has recruited and encouraged female students to become mentors and student leaders within our student organization. We asked a few to share their experiences about Project MALES and mentoring Latino males, here is what they shared.

Lidia Salazar

Lidia PM NewsletterYear and Major?
I am currently a second year student pursing a Bachelor of Science and Arts degree with a Biochemistry major and I am planning to pursue a Business certificate.

How long have you been a mentor with Project MALES?
I began mentoring with Project MALES during my first semester at UT as a freshman. I had first heard about the program through UT Outreach when we took a field trip to the university campus as high school seniors and I decided to sign up for the opportunity to participate in the program. This will be my fourth semester working as a mentor with Project MALES.

What is your role with project males?
As a mentor, I am there to support the students in preparing their goals and aspirations for the future that they would like to follow. I am also there to encourage the student. As mentors, we are there to show that there is someone willing to be present in their success.

I am also the secretary for the Project MALES Student Council, which works hard to promote the purpose of the program that we work towards obtaining as mentors. As secretary, I work with the council to organize events in order to make the cause of Project MALES known and to endorse the successes and education of the Latino community.

As a female student mentor what does it mean to be a mentor for young Latino males? As a female student mentor, mentoring and supporting these young Latino males means that the knowledge of the issue is not limited. This isn’t strictly “the boys’ problem;” it affects everyone and everyone should do their part to ensure that the issues of educational injustice in society are being addressed. As a female mentor, I am simply a human being wanting to work towards the progress of humanity.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Project MALES?
Project MALES has, in my experience, been a great avenue in which culture and education, two important and personal subjects, are given prominence. It is important to remember where you come from to know where you are going. Project MALES has served as a reminder of that as I help the high school students and remember those who have helped me. From the Pláticas, to the curriculum and the community I have enjoyed being part of the organization and making a difference in the community.

Karina Roque
Karina PM NewsletterYear and Major?
I am a 3rd year studying International Relations and Global Studies with a focus in International Security.

How long have you been a mentor with Project MALES?
Since my freshman year, fall 2012.

What is your role with project males?
I currently serve as work-study, started off as a mentor and became work-study Fall 2013. I will also serve as the ambassador for the Project Males Student Council this upcoming semester.

As a female student mentor what does it mean to be a mentor for young Latino males?
Growing up with male brothers I have seen some of the hardships my brothers have faced for being Latinos in America. I know if I had not had a mentor in high school, I would not be where I am today, whether my mentor was male or female. Being able to provide these students with the smallest of advice can impact them in so many ways. Growing up underprivileged, sometimes you don’t know of all the opportunities available, and being a minority and growing up underprivileged myself, it makes it easier to connect with these young men even if I am a female mentor.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Project MALES?
It has been a great experience mentoring high school boys. Although sometimes it’s small, I have seen how some of these young men have grown throughout the year. It is hard to realize it, but sometimes you are the only person they really open up to and talk about what they really want to do after high school. We put them in positions where we force them to think about their future during a point in their life where some only think about work and making money.

Lena Brennan

Lena PM Newsletter 2Year and Major?
I am a senior, I am a working towards a Corporate Communications Major with a Business Foundations Certificate.

How long have you been a mentor with Project MALES?
Since August 2013.

What is your role with project males?
I mentor young high school male students of color during weekly mid-day sessions so they can have better understandings of their passions, jobs, and goals while also providing a reliable friendship and open environment.

As a female student mentor what does it mean to be a mentor for young Latino males?Mentoring, to me is about being a good role model. It is about guiding those who have not had as many experiences as you, to find their own path and experiences. As a mentor, I love to support whatever it is that makes them happy while simultaneously leading them in a direction that they can be both happy and successful. I encourage my students to push boundaries and learn about their opportunities. I love building relationships with students and motivating them to be excited about and prepared for each of their futures.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Project MALES?
It has been extremely fulfilling to touch and guide the lives of younger students. I love bringing smiles and opportunities to these young men that I did not get to have when I was in high school.

Lidia, Karina, and Lena are great examples of how our female student mentors contribute to improving schooling conditions for male students of color in Central Texas. We hope to continue attracting and recruiting more female student mentors with the same energy and dedication these ladies have demonstrated to their fellow Project MALES peers and their mentees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Project MALES Staff has Been Presenting at Meetings and Conferences Around the Nation

April 15, 2015

Over the past few weeks our Project MALES staff had the opportunity to share our work around issues affecting male students of color nationwide. Here are some of the highlights of the events and conversations we have been a part of. On Friday March 6, 2015 Dr. Victor Sáenz participated in the 2015 Ohio Latino Education […]

Read the full article →

Project MALES Hosts Young Men Of Color For Explore UT

March 17, 2015

  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 […]

Read the full article →

Introducing Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen, Project MALES’s first Faculty Affiliate.

March 3, 2015

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 […]

Read the full article →

Dr. Sáenz and Dr. Ponjuán attend the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative Community Challenge National Convening in Washington D.C.

February 17, 2015

On Thursday, February 12, 2015, Dr. Victor Sáenz and Dr. Luis Ponjuán visited the White House for the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge National Convening. This event took place at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. Dr. Sáenz and Dr. Ponjuán joined the convening as speakers in a discussion series sharing their experiences and insights […]

Read the full article →

Site of the Week: William B. Travis High School

February 9, 2015

  For the third year in a row, Project MALES is mentoring at William B. Travis High School (Travis). This year the mentoring site coordinator at Travis H.S. is Juan Lopez, a first year master’s student in the education department with a specialization in College and University Student Personnel Administration at the University of Texas […]

Read the full article →

Project MALES Holds Third Annual Spring Retreat on MLK Holiday

January 26, 2015

For the 3rd year in a row, Project MALES dedicated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a day of service to honor his legacy. On Monday, January 19th, our mentors and work-study students kicked off mentoring activities for the spring semester with a retreat. Mentors and work-study students participated in a variety of activities. They divided […]

Read the full article →

Project MALES Mentoring Program is Looking Forward to a Great 2015

January 14, 2015

Project MALES is starting 2015 right where we left off! This year the Project MALES mentoring program is extending its partnership with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) by adding one more mentoring site. Starting in the spring semester, Project MALES will begin mentoring at Webb Middle School. In addition, our mentors and work-study students […]

Read the full article →

Project MALES Fall Recap and End-of-Year Celebration

December 16, 2014

Project MALES ended the fall 2014 semester on a positive note. On the mentoring side, we renewed our partnership with Austin Independent School District (AISD) by continuing its standing relationship with Lanier, Reagan, and Travis High Schools as well as initiating conversations with other local schools for possible future collaborations. In addition, this semester we […]

Read the full article →