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Helping Graduate Students SOAR

Program Funded by Department of Education Offers Support and Opportunities
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A more than $500,000 federal grant continues a Cal State Fullerton program to help first-generation graduate students, particularly underprivileged and underrepresented students, succeed in college.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education is part of a five-year award received by Strengthening Opportunities, Access and Resources, or SOAR.

SOAR was created in 2014 and offers advising, academic resources, professional development and networking opportunities, as well as scholarships. All graduate students may take part in many of the opportunities. The program is operated through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Since its inception, SOAR has supported 300 Elevar Scholars scholarship students, advised 2,000 students through the admissions process and 200 students on academic probation, and served at least 800 students in academic, cultural and professional development workshops. In addition, there have been thousands of students using the Graduate Student Success Center, where they receive advising, tutoring and resources, in addition to a place to study.

One of the key components is that it offers an online learning community for facilitated peer mentoring and networking, says Katherine Powers, director of graduate studies and project director. “We focused on developing connections that will help these students through their master’s programs, as well as support programs to help them do well.”

Robert Mendoza ’12 (B.S. kinesiology) is working on a master of science in kinesiology and is an Elevar Scholar. More about his experiences can be found here.