“I am so much more”: Male Achievement Program gives keys to success



Male Achievement Program lead Anand Upadhyaya, left, and MAP senior manager Gabe Randle were supporting students at the Male Achievement Program Luncheon.


Science major Keni Johnson needed help with a class essay but couldn’t quite complete it on his own until he met Anand Upadhyaya and Melody Cornish. Upadhyaya, a tutor at the time, and Cornish, a student success coach, sat down with Johnson for three hours on the essay.

After spending that time with them, Johnson said, “they invested in me, I could do the same with them.”

The opportunity presented itself in the Male Achievement Program. A year and a half later, Johnson says his life has improved from the experience.

“I used to think I was a football player, but I am so much more,” Johnson said.

The program aims to increase the academic success, leadership abilities, professional skills and financial security for males of color. On Sept. 14, the program opened its doors to all students for a presentation, and practice was the focus of discussion.

“You can’t learn everything in one day – you must practice,” Upadhyaya said. “You must spend more time outside of class than inside of class to be successful.”

The presentation was organized by Upadhyaya and hosted by Cheyenne Murray, program lead of the office of inclusive excellence and  the women’s empowerment network.

Upadhyaya and Murray used basketball as an analogy to show students the learning process and that not all class work can be completed in the classroom.

“We want to see our students achieve their goals at Dallas College. They’re here for a reason,” Upadhyaya said.

“It is a program that is sorely needed,” program senior manager Gabe Randle said. “As we know, looking at the stats and data, that men of color are the ones that tend not to graduate at successful rates.”

The enrollment and graduation rates for men of color in higher education lag behind not only those of white male students but those of women of color, according to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute.

“I truly believe in it, it is an awesome resource for our students, it sets them up for success,” Eastfield Campus President Eddie Tealer said “We’re able to guide them on pathway to support them. I have always thought this program would be great, and its even better that it is institutionalized.”

The program hosts several during-school activities in C 138 – such as meditation, which creates a place to express ideas, concerns and positive affirmations. It also offers academic assistance supported by the program’s connections with campus resources.