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Educators hope to encourage traditionally underrepresented

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON – The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has awarded a $300,000 grant to The University of Texas at Arlington to continue operating and expand high school-based college readiness offices called GO Centers.  

Luis Rosado

Luis Rosado, director of UT Arlington’s Center for Bilingual Education, along with Carla Amaro-Jiménez, assistant professor of bilingual/ESL education in the College of Education and Health Professions, worked to obtain the grant.

“We are thrilled about the continuation of these funds, which will help us in our efforts to make sure that more students – especially the traditionally underrepresented – are going to college,” said Amaro-Jiménez.

Carla Amaro-Jiménez


Latinos are the largest minority group in the nation, but the current rate of Latinos in higher education is about 13 percent, according to a 2010 report by The Education Trust. Only about 10 percent of Latinos aged 24-64 will graduate from four-year institutions.

GO Centers are physical spaces located in high schools that offer students admission, financial aid and other information to promote college attendance.

With the funds, about 55 UT Arlington students – known as G-Force – will be recruited to help staff the GO Centers and serve as peer mentors, offering their perspective on college.

The University plans to operate GO Centers in three local school districts:

Arlington ISD

Arlington High School

Lamar High School

Juan Seguin High School

Martin High School

Grand Prairie ISD

South Grand Prairie High School

Dubiski High School

Mansfield ISD

Summit High School

Timberview High School

Ciro Candelario, a UT Arlington junior majoring in political science, will serve on the G-Force for his third straight year.

“It’s like being a big brother to high school students,” Candelario said. “We not only help students interested in college. We also help students that are on the borderline of dropping out of high school.”

Gabriel Escobedo is serving on the G-Force for his second straight year. The anthropology major called it a ‘blast’ working with a program that supports you and others when they need it.

“The best part is helping that one kid who at the beginning of the year wasn’t sure he would graduate… and ends up graduating with scholarships to a college of their choice,” Escobedo said.

All G-Force team members are first generation college students representing a wide range of academic fields and backgrounds.

Amaro-Jiménez added: “The mentors are able to speak to the students as well as their parents about what it takes to get into college. They also provide tutoring in areas such as biology and math.”

Most of the mentors are bilingual – speaking English and Spanish. Past G-Force members have also been fluent in French and Asian languages such as Mandarin. 

“We are trying to close the gaps. The GO Centers are a place of hope. Kids come in thinking, ‘College isn’t for me,’ but leave saying, ‘Maybe it is,’” Amaro-Jiménez said.

The grant will be used to pay the mentors. They earn $10 per hour and are allowed to work a maximum of 19 hours a week. Current funding will expire on August 13, 2013.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 34,000 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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