On Thursday, May 12, 2016 the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Achievement Initiative for Minority Males (AIMM) sponsored their inaugural AIMM High event, welcoming 17 ninth grade students from Kashmere High School to the University of Houston (UH). In addition to aligning with CDI’s goal to provide an avenue to develop students’ sense of belonging and provide programs that engage, empower and educate, this program assists the Office of Admissions in their efforts to increase enrollment of minority male students at UH.
During the daylong program, students were provided information on what it takes to be successful in college by participating in a student panel conducted by current AIMM members. Topics included seeking out support systems, the importance of studying in both high school and college and AIMM members shared why they decided to attend UH. Following the panel, the Kashmere students engaged in a True Colors leadership exercise facilitated by Katy Kaesebier from the Center for Student Involvement and attended a luncheon featuring Dr. Elwyn Lee, Vice President for Community Relations and Institutional Access and Dr. Richard Baker, Vice President for the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.
“It was an honor to speak with those young men from Kashmere because they reminded me of myself 20 years ago. What inspired me the most at that age was someone telling me that it was ok to go after my dreams because that was all I had back then. While some people stress the benefits of college, some high schoolers see college as an experience working against the person they ultimately want to be. The trick is showing them how college fits in with their pursuit of their dreams and ideal selves.
In the afternoon, students toured the campus, attended a presentation from the Office of Admissions and received certificates for their participation.
The goal of AIMM High is to become a pipeline program that prepares underrepresented students for college. As a result of working with Houston Independent School District staff from the College Readiness Department, there is a greater opportunity to engage with the students each semester by offering them fun and informative ways to help them see college as a viable option.
“It was important for us to start with ninth graders to help prepare them academically, emotionally and financially for college. Reaching them at an early age improves their trajectory for college. I look forward to seeing how this program will grow and how the AIMM students will continue to impact the young men who participate in the program.”
Over 90% of the students who attended AIMM High reported that they enjoyed their experience and that UH is in their top three choices for college.
(AIMM) is a program designed to improve the recruitment and retention of African American and Hispanic males at the University of Houston. Participants receive academic support and character and leadership development through programs and workshops. Males in the program also participate in community engagement opportunities and receive mentoring by faculty, staff and peers.