October 01, 2013
LaTanya Buck

AAMS Kicks Off Third Year

Participants in the African American Male Scholars boast a GPA of at least 3.0 and take part in leadership activities including serving as Resident Advisors and SLU 101 Leaders.

AAMS Participants
New and returning AAMS students and mentors during Fall Welcome. Submitted photo

The African American Male Scholars (AAMS) Initiative held its informational session on the day after 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech and during Fall Welcome Week to introduce first-year and returning black male scholars, as well as the wider campus community, to the benefits and goals of AAMS.

Gearing up for its third year, AAMS continues to support students from the least retained demographic at the University in their efforts to graduate. This mission of the AAMS Initiative is to retain and graduate black male students at Saint Louis University.

More than 30 potential participants and mentors attended the informational session in the new Center for Global Citizenship. Students in attendance learned how they can join, contribute and invest their efforts in the Initiative. The potential participants met black male faculty and staff from units across the University and learned of the many resources and services available to students on campus.

Stefan Bradley, Ph.D., director of African American studies and associate professor of history, spoke to students about the importance of leadership, brotherhood and mentoring relationships. Keon Gilbert, Ph.D., assistant professor in the college of Public Health and Social Justice, spoke in depth about the benefits of mentorship, citing the relationship with his mentor and other students in AAMS. Additionally, the most significant part of the evening occurred when several returning AAMS scholars provided helpful advice concerning their experiences with AAMS and how they have persevered at Saint Louis University.

AAMS men have been engaged in several opportunities throughout the year including involvement as Resident Advisors, SLU 101 Leaders, Black Student Alliance Executive Board members and Athletics, including the soccer and track teams. Two AAMS students received co-op and internship opportunities at local corporations Anheuser-Busch and Boeing, respectively. Two AAMS seniors graduated in spring 2013, with one returning to SLU to pursue graduate studies in the Communication Program and serve as a graduate assistant in the Office of Admission.

The average GPA for the AAMS cohort is 3.0, with more than a third of students maintaining at least a 3.4 GPA. The highest GPA is 3.9, which is held by a first-year student participant. In addition, the AAMS Initiative retained has 87 percent of its engaged participants from the 2012-2013 school year.

The ambition of AAMS is to improve the retention and graduation rates of African-American male students at SLU. Although retention and graduation are important objectives, AAMS's overarching mission is to facilitate the personal success of the participants. The Initiative's stated goals are to provide:

Experiences that enable African-American male students to better understand themselves in the context of the larger community and demonstrate pride in their own cultural heritage.

A supportive campus community for African-American male students by assisting students in building relationships with peers, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and members of the local community.

Exposure to campus and community resources that will enable African-American male students to realize their potential for academic success and to positively affect the campus and community as servant leaders.

Awareness of issues that affect African-American male college students among campus and community stakeholders.

The African American Male Scholars Initiative is currently accepting applications for the 2013-2014 academic year. The AAMS Initiative is open to all African-American male undergraduates with a specific focus on freshmen and sophomores. To learn more about the AAMS Initiative, contact LaTanya Buck, director of the Cross Cultural Center at lbuck6@slu.edu or Stefan Bradley, Ph.D., director of the African American Studies Program at sbradle7@slu.edu.

To recommend a student participant, contact CCC staff member Divine Shelton at aams@slu.edu or 314-977-2119.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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