The Hispanic Outreach and Leadership Program (HOLA) at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) has been selected as a semifinalist for a national award from Excelencia in Education, the university announced.
Excelencia is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that promotes Latino education and academic achievement.
Melody Rodriguez, HOLA director, founded the organization in 2003 to provide support services and culturally sensitive programs that would help AASU Latino students succeed academically. Latino enrollment at AASU has since increased 37 percent, to more than 275 students.
“I am thrilled about the news,” said Rodriguez. “This recognition puts Armstrong Atlantic on the map, along with other prestigious Latino-serving schools in Texas and California. I am proud of this achievement and I’m thankful for the support my program has received on this campus.”
AASU’s HOLA will be included in the 2008 edition of What Works for Latino Students: Examples of Excelencia Compendium, which will be distributed electronically later this year to more than 13,000 constituents, educational organizations and policy leaders.
Rodriguez, a Venezuelan-born U.S. citizen, joined AASU in 2001 and is a recipient of the 2007 Georgia Trend “40 Under 40”Award, along with other honors.
“The continued growth of the Latino population at Armstrong Atlantic is a result of the tremendous work of Melody Rodriguez,” said AASU Vice President of Student Affairs Vicki McNeil.
“Our strength at Armstrong Atlantic is in the rich diversity of students and their academic achievements. Ms. Rodriguez has created an environment where Latino students can pursue their academic and career goals and participate in programming that supports and enhances their cultural heritage,” McNeil said.
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