Latinos Unidos Con Energia, Respeto y Orgullo - Latinos United with Energy, Respect, and Pride (LUCERO) Program
The LUCERO Program creates a positive connection for Latino/a students to develop exceptional academic, leadership, and professional skills while celebrating culture. “Lucero” means morning star and brilliance, which describes their students’ journey at Lansing Community College (LCC) from their first day to graduation or transfer to a 4-year university. LUCERO began in 2003, when LCC’s Latino/a students comprised the lowest graduation, transfer, and retention rates of LCC’s student population. Their mission was developed to create an environment of success. LUCERO offers annual events through Hispanic Heritage Month, Cesar E. Chavez Day, Annual Meet and Greet, and a Thanksgiving dinner. An annual 5K run/walk raises scholarship funds for students. Families play a pivotal role in student success and are always included in their events.
LUCERO’s goal is to engage and retain students to accomplish their academic goals of graduating with a certificate or degree, and/or transfer to a 4-year university. LUCERO supports LCC’s mission of providing learning and enrichment opportunities to improve a student’s quality of life. They help students develop positive connections with LCC faculty and staff, and strive to empower them, be positive role models, encourage them to explore a variety of careers, and build a community of leaders with a shared identity and experience. Many continue on to earn bachelor degrees; some complete the legacy with master’s degrees, and currently one student is pursuing a doctorate degree. Their success services include bilingual services; academic, career, and financial aid advising; tutoring; workshops; mentoring; peer support; computer lab; university tours; and cultural events.
The program has grown from 40 students in 2008 to 350 in 2014.
· LUCERO has graduated 97 students with certificate and associate degrees; 65 have transferred to 4-year universities, 28 have earned bachelor degrees, 6 are earning master’s degrees, and 1 is earning a Ph.D.
· In 2014, Latina LCC students had the second highest success rate of all LCC student population groups, at 78%. LUCERO students’ retention rate is 79% compared to LCC’s overall rate of 59%.
· 9 LUCERO students have received University of Michigan summer internships through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and two have received summer internships in Science and Engineering at Michigan State University.
· LUCERO student feedback includes the value of advising, feeling connected, positive learning experiences, developing academic and career goal skill sets, advocacy skills, giving back, equating education and training with a career choice, and achieving their dreams.