Today@Sam Article

Grant Funding Allows Programs To ‘Evolve’

Dec. 16, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

A $251,139 grant award from the Greater Texas Foundation will allow Sam Houston State University to enhance ELITE and Evolve programs serving male students of color and female transfer students. One major goal that the funding will allow the programs to accomplish is the hiring of an outreach specialist, to broaden recruitment and program development efforts.

“The outreach specialist will aim to ease students’ overall transition from their previous institution to ours, and also assist in welcoming students directly into the established support systems that our programs offer,” José R. Herrera director for the SH ELITE program said.

ELITE_Evolve group

Since its formation in 2010, ELITE (Establishing Leadership In and Through Education) has worked to encourage the academic and civic engagement of Black and Hispanic men, and to address the lower rates of retention and graduation of undergraduate minority males on campus. The program’s success, and the demand from incoming students and increasing female enrollment at SHSU, prompted the development of Evolve to provide similar services to female undergraduate transfer students.

“We want female transfer students to value their undergraduate experience and finish at SHSU,” Tiffany Driver SH ELITE and Evolve assistant director said. “Participants develop a sense of community and receive specialized academic support services.”

Andrew Aoueille plans to graduate this month with a BS in physics and mathematics.  As a first-generation student, Aoueille says the SH ELITE program was very important to his college journey.

“I loved being a part of ELITE. It showed me the importance of community involvement and gave me the tools to being successful as a Hispanic male,” Aoueille said.

One of the most important components of both programs is the drawing together of participants, providing stability that many young college students lose when they move away from home. Through these connections, SHSU students gain camaraderie while fostering success and leadership.

“These groups provide an automatic support network,” Herrera said. “It is a great way to meet success-oriented individuals and to surround oneself with others who are focused on being leaders and professionals in and outside of the classroom.”

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