Photo courtesy UTEP
The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a $2.1 million, five-year grant for The University of Texas at El Paso to help students from migrant families to successfully transition to the college culture, and UTEP is looking for qualified applicants.
The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is open to first-year, full-time UTEP students who are members of migrant and seasonal farm worker families. The program provides academic, social and financial support through comprehensive programming that prepares participants for a successful academic journey.
The program will help students during their first year of college to develop the necessary skills they will need to be successful. CAMP will provide participants with assistance, support and mentoring and in some cases provide modest stipends for meals, transportation and campus housing.
“I’m excited about the grant because it helps UTEP support students of migrant and seasonal farm worker families to pursue their college education,” said Dorothy Ward, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Entering Student Program and CAMP’s principal investigator. “Simply stated, a college education can prove life altering for students and their families. CAMP will help participants develop a strong support network of UTEP students, faculty and staff that will serve them well throughout their college years.”
Ward encouraged prospective CAMP members to learn more about the program’s services and eligibility requirements at www.utep.edu/camp
The University had a similar CAMP grant from 1972 through 2012. One of its graduates is Oscar Nuñez, a master teacher in UTEP’s high school equivalency program that helps migrant students and their families. Nuñez, a 2004-05 CAMP member, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2009.
The Mexican native said his parents worked in the grape vineyards of Bakersfield, California, and continued to work there during summers even after the family moved to El Paso. He graduated from Jefferson High School, where a counselor advised him about UTEP’s CAMP opportunity.
Nuñez said the program familiarized him with the University and its resources. It provided a reliable setting where he and his peers could go with questions about everything from registration to class notes. The cohort, which often took the same courses, would study and do homework together. They also attended mandatory tutoring sessions.
“The experience of starting school was not as scary as it could have been,” Nuñez said. “CAMP gave me the tools I needed to be successful at the University level. I learned about time management and prioritization. It was a rewarding experience.”