Corey Walker, Peer Leader for the African American Male Initiative (AAMI), has seen a fascinating change in his college career since joining the program at Georgia State. “The level of brotherhood that I observed during this program was something I hadn’t received since I was in high school,” says Walker, “and the number of opportunities to connect and engage with the community have promoted my growth as an individual.”
My Brother’s Keeper, a partnership between Black Student Achievement and the Honors College, is the Georgia State University branch of AAMI through the University System of Georgia (USG). Their aim is to increase the number of students who are academically competitive by providing Black males with identity and professional development, cultural and social competency programs, and experiential learning opportunities through undergraduate research, civic engagement, study abroad, and college to career initiatives.
My Brother’s Keeper will support 100 Black males utilizing a cohort model for tracking and scaling the program to reach the larger campus community. Cohort participants will serve as program ambassadors and their curriculum goals and objectives will center around academic skills enrichment, mentorship, leadership development, and student support services. Campus partnerships and external collaborators will also aid in the My Brother’s Keeper experience, which stretches through the entire academic calendar.
Georgia State’s AAMI will provide leadership development by helping students cultivate professional competencies and connect these competencies to their career aspirations. The emphasis on the cohort’s college to career readiness will improve soft skills through engagement with service-learning, conference participation, and other leadership activities. This aim will truly develop change agents for a better tomorrow.
It is no secret that the coronavirus disproportionately affects African Americans. Though the current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted higher education, and subsequently, AAMI in a major way, My Brother’s Keeper is prepared to meet these new challenges in the upcoming year by engaging a hybrid delivery of programs that utilizes academic support, fosters mentorship, and promotes a true sense of belonging.
While some students have found difficulty in the “new normal” of the undergraduate experience, Corey understands the importance of AAMI institutionally and personally. “It’s required me to establish more of a presence at my university as I have to help a developing program introduce itself as a powerful one.”