Miguel Maria ’15, M’18 is the new director of Male Initiative for Leadership and Education (MILE) at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Maria has come full circle, as he attended STCC through a dual enrollment program when he was in high school.
“I credit STCC for opening the doors of higher education for me,” said Maria. As the director of MILE, he hopes to open doors for other male students while promoting student success. The MILE program consists of one-on-one and group mentoring, skill-building workshops, community service, tutoring sessions, and advising.
STCC continues to expand MILE, as they plan to hire two full-time academic and transfer counselors to serve MILE participants. MILE is designed to support all male students. However, they focus on Black and Latino men because research shows that these two groups access higher education and graduate at disproportionately lower rates than men from other ethnic or racial backgrounds and their female counterparts.
“MILE shall be a place where students can seek the services necessary to attain academic, personal and professional success. Providing a space like the MILE office where students can create a brotherhood and a community and feel engaged in their higher education will help them inside and out of the classroom.” Maria said. “I want to create a space where Black and Latino students feel welcome and not only utilize the space to seek academic support but can come in here and relax and have a safe space on campus,” said Maria.
Maria was the first in his family to go to college and remembers how crucial support services were for his academic career.
“I’m so passionate about student support programs because I’m a product of student support programs,” he said. “For me personally, I think some of the most important mentors that I had not only helped me navigate the college completion process but also modeled behavior for me.”
Maria earned his bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University in economics and political science in 2015 and his master’s in public administration from Westfield State in 2018. He is currently completing his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
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