Ashley Rojas was nervous about attending college and scared of failing.
But thanks to the College Assistance Migrant Program, she was able to get over her fears and get the support she needed to succeed.
Ashley was the first in her family to attend college. The graduate of King City High School decided to enroll in CSUMB in the fall of 2009.
“I can’t count the times I had ‘impostor syndrome,’ ” she said. “Failure was constantly in the back of my mind.”
Ashley was recruited for the CAMP program before her freshman year. Like all CAMP students, she had access to tutoring, career exploration, cultural and social activities and follow-up support services through graduation.
“CAMP was one of the programs that was the foudation and fundamental to my success at CSUMB,” she said. She then ticked off the kinds of support she received:
• Summer Bridge – “Helped with my transition to college”
• Math 98/99 workshop – “Saved my life!”
• “An open door whenever I had questions or needed help”
While in the program, she was selected to attend a conference in Washington, D.C. Two years later, that led to an internship in the nation’s capital.
CSUMB has recently received a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to offer the program for five more years, serving 55 incoming students each year from Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
First-generation college students face many hurdles. Among them are parents with no college experience, low family incomes, inadequate academic preparation and language barriers.
The goal of the program is to create a paradigm shift in the minds of students and their parents that college is possible, and to provide the support they need to succeed once they arrive on campus.
It worked for Ashley – she graduated in 2014 with a degree in collaborative health and human services and plans to attend graduate school after taking a year off. She’s hoping to use that year to teach English in South Korea.
Learn more about the CAMP program at CSUMB.
Earlier story: Migrant program earns national recognition