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ASU program receives national recognition for improving success for Latino students

College Assistance Migrant Program one of only 20 in US to be recognized by Excelencia in Education

Family of a CAMP student posing for picture with ASU-themed signs.

Members of a CAMP family teach their grandmother how to throw the ASU pitchfork. Photo courtesy Seline Szkupinski Quiroga

August 18, 2022

This year, Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, received 93 program submissions representing 17 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Arizona State University’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) program and the other 19 finalists will be featured online as well as in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database — the only national online, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders and policymakers interested in identifying working strategies for Latino students.

“Arizona has one of the largest migrant student populations in the nation, and many students in migrant families make the decision to forgo a college education in order to financially support their families,” said Nancy Gonzales, executive vice president and university provost at ASU.

“I am incredibly proud of the faculty and staff who launched the CAMP program within the School of Transborder Studies. It is an innovative, comprehensive and culturally responsive approach that is creating impactful results for our ASU students participating in it. CAMP is well-deserving of this important national recognition,” she said.

“We are elated that this recognition has been given to CAMP, especially in light of the terrific barriers we have had to overcome over the past two years because of the impact of the pandemic,” said Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez, project principal investigator, Regents Professor and founding director emeritus of the ASU School of Transborder Studies.

“The program's recognition will only enhance our capacity to serve our students and community and bring even greater attention to the excellence of the university,” he said.

Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and is the country’s only national effort to identify, aggregate and promote evidence-based practices improving Latino students’ success in higher education.The ASU CAMP program was nominated as an exemplar, led by practitioners who work directly with students on their entire journey from enrollment to degree completion.

“This recognition will help with our motivation for continuing this difficult work, and will hopefully attract more migratory students who will realize that ASU is a place for them to pursue their education and succeed,” Program Director Seline Szkupinski Quiroga said. “I also hope that this recognition will bring more awareness to the migratory students of Arizona and the challenges they face, and that we find more supporters of our work.”

The ASU CAMP Scholars Project, which is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Migrant Education, provides academic support to students from migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds during their first year in college. The project was created when Szkupinski Quiroga realized that Arizona had the seventh-largest population of migrant students in the country but ASU had no programs for them. 

“ASU CAMP’s programming and service delivery model was designed with the LatinxLatinx is the gender neutral term for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America. student population in mind. We conducted extensive research into what is most effective for first-generation, low-income Latinx students and incorporated the most impactful components into our program,” Szkupinski Quiroga said. “We also kept ASU’s Charter in mind: that we as an institution are measured not by whom we exclude but by whom we include and how they succeed.” 

The CAMP project identifies, recruits and enrolls students from migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds to attend ASU and provides them with academic, financial and social support to help them be successful in their first year of college.

“We have a phrase in Spanish — ‘persona educada’ — which literally means an ‘educated person’ but in reality, means a learned, self-sufficient and socially and civilly responsible individual who thinks first of others’ well-being, rather than just their own,” Vélez-Ibáñez said. “This underlies all of our efforts.”

Students who have participated in the CAMP program say that it provided them with crucial financial, emotional and academic support, and through personal development workshops, internships and guidance on grad school applications, they developed the leadership and collaboration skills necessary to be successful.  

Young Latinos are one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations. ASU has recently been named a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education and is committed to serving those individuals who wish to pursue a college degree regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, and to provide the support and resources for success.

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