Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success)

Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Achievement) University of Texas at Austin
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Program Focus


Project MALES Student Mentoring Program’s mission advances equitable educational outcomes for students of color at the local, state, and national level. We do this in part by implementing an effective mentoring program with a special focus on Latino students through a dynamic inter-generational near peer mentoring approach. Our outcomes are tied to graduation rates, but also leadership development and community engagement to enhance the academic success of undergraduate mentors of color at UT Austin, a predominantly white institution. Our UT mentors are trained in our IMPACT service learning class that prepares them to mentor K-12 students in Central Texas (over 250 served this year) to develop academic and social skills. Our mentor program is unique and uses a mix of critical mentoring, SEL and Restorative Practices committed to serving our Latino student population at UT and local schools. It serves as a safe space to excel and connect to a powerful network and resources at UT Austin.

Program Description

Project MALES Mentoring Program is a research, evidence-based mentoring initiative, and focuses on addressing challenges Latino males in K-12 and higher ed through a cultural assets based approach. The mentoring program was piloted at Travis High School by Dr. Victor Saenz and one grad student in 2011. Currently, our program serves 18 middle and high schools, two local school districts to provide mentorship to over 250 boys of color. Our program staff consists of five graduate students, 65 undergraduate mentors, and three full-time staff of predominantly first gen/Latino background.

All programming is tied to Latino experiences, using CRT/Lat Crit approaches--spring and fall training retreats, platicas, and IMPACT class. The IMPACT class supports student engagement and academic achievement through experiential learning opportunities and introduces students to graduate level coursework on Latino educational research literature. Our training retreats are set at the beginning of the semester to educates mentors on high impact practices, critical mentoring curriculum, restorative practices, and foster a Latino informed learning community. Our platicas highlight faculty, community leaders, and other advocates to dialogue with our undergraduate mentors, and serve to inspire and motivate our students in their academic and personal development. At Project MALES, we aim to leverage UT resources to create empowering spaces for our Latino students in both higher education and K-12.


  • Increased graduation rate: The 6-year graduation rate for Latinx students who enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2011 is 75%. For the 2012 cohort of Latino males, it was 71%. Since the founding of the Project MALES Mentoring Program, 203 undergraduate mentors have participated in the program, with 178 identified as Latinx. Of all student participants, 90% of students have graduated or are on track to graduate.
  • High retention of mentors: For the 2018-2019 cohort of 64 students, seven mentors graduated and 57 undergraduate mentors successfully completed the year. All students have committed to returning for the 2019- 2020 academic year resulting in a 100% completion and retention rate.
  • Increased graduate degree completion, including PhDs: In the 2018-19 cohort, the program had five graduate assistants, three graduated with their master’s degree in Education. Since inception, 14 mentors have enrolled in and completed a PhD.