CMAS recognized for continued mentorship
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the UH Center for Mexican American Studies, along with its director, Tatcho Mindiola, was featured as the cover article of the September issue of “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.”
Founded in 1972, CMAS serves as not only a provider for a minor in Mexican American studies as well as courses in Hispanic history, politics, culture and psychology, but also for scholarships and academic opportunities for Latino students.
“The idea (of our program) came about in the late ’60s, early ’70s, when students, both African-American and Mexican American, across the country were beginning to ask universities to set up these kinds of programs,” Mindiola said.
“It was the first time in the history of the United States that so many African-American and Mexican Americans had appeared on college campuses. It was a time of protest because there was a lot of anti-war sentiment because of the Vietnam War. It was a movement that brought society under criticism for a variety of reasons, and part of that criticism, of course, concerned gender issues and racial issues.”
CMAS reaches out to Latino high school students in the greater Houston community, tutors and mentors them from tenth grade until they graduate college. According to Mindiola, of the 200 students that have gone through the CMAS mentoring program, 72 percent have graduated college, compared to UH’s average of 48 percent.
Chicano history lecturer Monica Perales said CMAS has played an important role in the Houston community.
“Not only has it been an intellectual home where scholars have generated cutting-edge research on issues of vital importance to Latinos, but it provides scholarship and mentoring support to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels with the goal of creating a new generation of leaders,” Perales said.
CMAS helps students who wish to focus graduate research on Mexican American studies through its Graduate Fellowship Program.
According to its website, CMAS aims to promote community-oriented qualities in addition to those related to leadership.
“I hope that CMAS continues to grow, and continues to play a vital role in shaping the minds of our future leaders,” said Perales.
“I hope that through CMAS, students continue to gain an appreciation for the diversity of our community and the richness of our culture.”
For more information about CMAS, visit www.uh.edu/class/cmas/index.php.