Student story: Black Male Achievers program put student on graduation path

By St. Louis Community College Marketing & Communications

What a difference a college makes, at least for St. Louis Community College’s Jayson Minner.

Minner started his college career at DePaul University and quickly realized something was missing.

He felt alone and couldn’t find the community and support he needed to thrive.

Fast forward one year, Minner transferred to STLCC.

He’s glad he switched institutions and connected with the Black Male Achievers program on the Florissant Valley campus.

The program’s goal is to increase the enrollment, retention and graduation rate of underrepresented student populations by alleviating barriers that hinder students from reaching their personal, academic and career goals. It provides wraparound services to students, so they can focus on academics and graduate.

“Black Male Achievers has been a great eye-opening experience to help me figure out that mentorship is important, and it is very important in my life,” Minner said.

“Regardless of age, where you come from, anything about you, you always have something that you can give this world. A lot of people feel like their voice isn’t being heard, but if you get into a community where it’s very tight knit like the Black Male Achievers, I was able to find that we’re able to mentor each other through anything that we’re going through, whether it’s life, class or work.”

Minner will graduate Sunday, May 19 with an associate degree in general transfer studies. He plans to transfer to Washington University in St. Louis, where he will study business and digital marketing.

Over the past year, Minner has earned accolades that make him stand tall.

Just last month, he was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, an international college honor society. Earlier this year, he took on a leadership role and encouraged fellow Archers.

“I was able to formulate the questions and present them in front of an audience, and I feel like that was the best event we had all year,” he said about the TRIO student leadership board panel he hosted for first-generation college students.

“The TRIO students did a great job just showing that passion and that relatability about being the first one in your family to attend college.” 

Mysha Clincy, coordinator of student retention programs, is proud of Minner and the rest of the Black Male Achievers she mentors.

“It feels wonderful knowing the work I do is impacting students and helping them get to the finish line,” Clincy said.

“Jayson came to the College through the summer bridge Black Male Achievers Academy. He listened and followed my instructions, which included getting a corporate mentor, applying for scholarships and finding a good, low-cost school to transfer to when he completes his associate degree at STLCC.”

STLCC is currently recruiting for the summer bridge Black Male Achievers Academy, which is open to admitted, first-time new to college students. The academy will take place July 8-19 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the William J. Harrison Education Center, located at 3140 Cass Ave., in St. Louis.

During the two-week program, students will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale and participate in career readiness and other interactive activities that will prepare them for their first semester and beyond.

This article was originally posted here.