This post originally appeared on The Maker Mom. Veronica Arreola was first featured on The Maker Mom as a STEM Wonder Woman back in 2015. Now she’s back talking about her exciting new position as the director of the new L@s GANAS program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Also known as Las GANAS, the name stands for Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science. It’s a center. It’s a program. It’s a service (a bunch of them, actually)
L@s GANAS serves Latin@ students. That is, according to their site, “Latinx, Latino, Latina, Hispanic, Latin American, Hispanic American, Chicano, Chicana, etc.” Students from these backgrounds are underrepresented in STEM. The program seeks to change that equation for this generation.
In fact, their two main stated goals are to increase the enrollment of Latinx STEM students and improve the outcomes for Latinx and low-income students.
As Veronica notes in our discussion below, the Latinx population at UIC includes many first-generation college students who don’t have parents to guide them through collegiate hoops (or as the parent of a college student myself, roller coaster might be a better term). L@s GANAS steps in with peer mentors, research fellowships, connections to study groups and cultural events, and more.
In addition to the programs and services the program provides to UIC students, their staff also works with specific high school and two-year colleges in the city and surrounding suburbs to provide information and readiness programs related to four-year colleges (most notably, UIC).
The L@s Ganas team is also available on request to visit Chicagoland schools to help Latinx students prepare to student success at UIC.