The program paves the way for Latino students interested in science

For the past ten years, a program within California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has focused on helping minorities, especially Latino students, successfully navigate through college.

The Attract Inspire Mentor Support Student Program (AIMS2) in CSUN’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has successfully helped women and Latina students transitioning from community colleges to excel in STEM undergraduate subjects.

In partnership with North Los Angeles community colleges—such as Glendale, MoorPark, Los Angeles Pierce, and College of the Canyons—the program recruits transfer students to be matched with a teacher, who may be a professor or scholar.

Students eligible to participate get $15 an hour and mentors $17 an hour.

SK Ramesh, AIMS2 Program Director, said that just over 10 years ago when he was dean of CSUN, he looked at the student body in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and realized the lack of services and programs geared toward students and minorities. Hence there was a performance and equality gap compared to other races, such as whites.

“So I started working with the faculty and wrote a proposal to the Ministry of Education to create AIMS2, a team model intended to attract Hispanics as well as any economically disadvantaged student,” he explained.

This includes minority students, who are receiving financial aid, or anyone who needs help studying engineering.

CSUN is designated a Hispanic institution, a federal designation that colleges receive when more than 25% of their students identify as Hispanic. Currently, two-thirds of students at AIMS2 have Latin roots.

Ramesh pointed out that the closest definition of the AIMS2 program is “the community” where the CSUN group of students, faculty and staff in collaboration with community colleges was providing the help needed for students to excel.

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In 2011, the program received its first five-year grant from the US Department of Education, the next in 2016 and ending in September. “I have been very careful with how we spend our budget,” Ramesh said. “[Por ello]We can support students in the program until May 2022.”

The Ministry of Education organized a new competition and AIMS2 submitted its proposal. “By crossing our fingers we will be selected again. Accordingly, we will be able to continue the program for another five years until 2026.

He added that AIMS2 serves about 150 students at CSUN and between 300 and 400 students at the community college each year. “If you do the math for 10 years, we’re talking about 4,000 or 5,000 students.”

The program’s graduation rate was 71% among transferred students and 67% among women.

For more information about the AIMS2 program, call (818) 677-4742 or

visit: https://www.ecs.csun.edu/aims2/

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