Four students who graduated from the first Bronx Institute at Lehman College ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education) cohort in 2006 are returning to campus to give back to the program and to support its initiatives.
Daniel Morales-Armstrong, Zamira Castro, Erica DeJesus, and Jaynice Del Rosario have taken unique paths that led them from college and graduate school to teaching and education. Each has a passion to improve the Institute’s programs and to extend educational opportunities to underserved Latinos in the Bronx. Upon their return to campus, they met with Lehman College President Ricardo R. Fernández, a long-time supporter of ENLACE and the Bronx Institute.
“My goal is to help ENLACE students complete their college applications. When I was in high school, we received very little college counseling,” says DeJesus. “Of course there was a lot of pressure to go to college, but no one explained to us how to do it. ENLACE gave me that support, and that’s what I want to give back.”
As ENLACE faculty and staff, they will rejoin a program that has changed significantly since they were students. Originally designed to serve one cohort for six years, the program has been reorganized to serve three, two-year cohorts through which students move as they progress through school. Over time, the admissions process has been refined to identify and attract more students who can benefit from the rigorous academic program. In addition, the curriculum has evolved to emphasize STEM study and careers. What has remained constant is the commitment to extend educational opportunities, academic support, and emotional growth to high-performing underserved Latinos.
“The encouragement I received from ENLACE decisively influenced my life,” said Morales-Armstrong. “My goal is to help ENLACE adapt so that it can serve students in the future. We need to give students more opportunities to study in the STEM fields, where Latinos are underrepresented.”
“In keeping with the mission of the Bronx Institute, ENLACE strives to improve the quality of life in the Bronx,” said Professor Herminio Martinez (Middle and High School Education), executive director of the Bronx Institute at Lehman College. “To accomplish this goal, our students must give back to the community, and we are very proud that these former students—now college graduates and professionals—have returned to do just that.”
ENLACE, an out-of-school time academic enrichment program of the Bronx Institute, was among the first in the borough to recognize the academic, social, and emotional needs of high-achieving underserved Latinos in The Bronx. The program provides year-round advanced STEM courses, New York State Regents and SAT test prep, parent workshops on planning for college, summer study and travel opportunities, and college application support. ENLACE has been recognized nationally for its innovative curriculum and outstanding student outcomes. ENLACE currently serves four different groups of students. For more information about ENLACE and the Bronx Institute, visit www.lehman.edu/deanedu/thebronxinstitute/HTMLs2/ENLACE.php