Enhancing Postbaccalaureate Opportunities at Cal State Fullerton for Hispanic Students (EPOCHS) is making its impact felt. Four years old, the program helps underrepresented graduate students to succeed. The same can be said of Project MISS, a program that recently celebrated a quarter-century of success assisting students bound for college.
Both programs were finalists in this year’s national Excelencia in Education’s “Examples of Exelencia” awards.
“For many, these students are the first in their families to enroll in postsecondary education,” explained Katherine Powers, director of graduate studies who oversees EPOCHS. “They are often balancing working, school and family while working on their postbaccalaureate degree and, many times, feeling that they ‘don’t belong’ in a master’s program.”
The federally funded EPOCHS program offers a wide range of activities that support what students need to do to graduate, as well as help them if they decide to earn a doctorate. It also provides monetary support for research projects required by university degree programs.
Project MISS (Mathematics Intensive Summer Session) targets underrepresented women — specifically young women in high school, who may struggle with mathematics. Since 1990, under the guidance of CSUF mathematics professor David Pagni, this intensive four-week summer session has helped more than 1,500 young women improve their skills in algebra, geometry and precalculus.
With the confidence they achieve through Project MISS, students are using those skills to graduate from high school, enter college and major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The two Cal State Fullerton programs were the only ones in the California State University system selected as finalists for “Examples of Excelencia,” a national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidenced-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and education.