‘Abriendo caminos’ while opening doors

A 3 million dollar grant was awarded to Juana Mora the director of the project “Abriendo Caminos” at CSUN by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Abriendo Caminos” or “Creating Pathways” is a project in where Los Angeles Pierce College (LAPC), College of the Canyons and California State University, Northridge (CSUN) have come together to help Latino and low income students reach their goals.

“The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to increase the participation of Latino and low income students from two Los Angeles-based community colleges (College of the Canyons and Pierce College) so that they can successfully transfer to CSUN, be prepared for upper division coursework and graduate in high-demand careers,” as stated in the abstract “Creating Pathways for Latino Transfer Students in High Demand Careers.”

“The grant will target students in engineering, business administration, nursing, graphic arts animation and multimedia design. We hope that we can get Latino students involved in those majors and complete their entire education in four years if possible. That is our goal,” said Mora.

“Who is eligible for this grant is not only Latinos although it is primarily Hispanics, low income students and first generation students,” said Jose Luis Fernandez program coordinator of Abriendo Caminos.

Students who qualify for this program and attend LAPC or College of the Canyons may have a guaranteed transfer to CSUN as well as other priorities.

“Those students with this grant will transfer from Pierce to CSUN directly. There will be an AABA degree program where students will be guaranteed admission into CSUN of course having met all the academic requirements,” said Fernandez.

Although a great number of students may be eligible only a certain number of students may obtain it.

“The mission of this particular grant is to engage in a case study to serve only a small number of students. The grant is designed to support by providing mentoring, close guidance, priority registration, tutoring for the students and to make textbooks available for them. By providing this kind of support to a small number of students the goal is to help them finish their career in a period of four years,” said Fernandez.

While this five year grant begun to take effect since October 2016 it is still a work in progress.

“It will not be until year two and three when we will begin to see results. It is a planning phase we are developing. In collaboration with CSUN and College of the Canyons we are developing the guidelines that we are going to use to select the students that are going to be part of the grant,” said Fernandez.

There is great effort coming from LAPC, CSUN and College of the Canyons in order for their students to feel comfortable and have all the access possible for them to build a brighter future.

“There will be a lot of cross campus collaboration to help these students make that transfer successfully and feel familiar by the time they get to CSUN,” Mora said.