- Dr. Victor B. Sáenz, Executive Director & Co-Founder
- Dr. Luis Ponjuán, Co-Founder
- Dr. Emmet Campos, Director
- Ricardo “Rico” Gonzalez, Administrative Program Coordinator
Graduate Student Staff
- Saul Barrera, Mentoring Site Coordinator/Graduate Assistant
- Clint LaFuente, Mentoring Graduate Coordinator
- Armando Lizarraga, Graduate Research Assistant
- Raul Maldonado, Mentoring Site Coordinator/Graduate Assistant
- Celine Norman, Mentoring Site Coordinator/Graduate Assistant
- Giovanna Urbina, Mentoring Site Coordinator/Graduate Assistant
Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D., is the co-founder and Executive Director of Project MALES. He is Associate Dean for Student Success, Community Engagement, and Administration and L. D. Haskew Centennial Professor in Public School Administration in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds courtesy appointments with the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, and the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute. Dr. Sáenz has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and recently published two books, including one on Latino males in higher education (Stylus Publishing, 2016). Sáenz’s current work advances research-informed best practices and policy solutions that improve educational outcomes for underserved students in education, with a special emphasis on boys and young men of color. Dr. Saenz earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles. Full biography is available.
Luis Ponjuán, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Project MALES and leads the Texas A&M research component. Dr. Ponjuán received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from University of Michigan in 2005. He joined the Educational Administration and Human Resources Development Department at Texas A&M University as an Associate Professor in 2012. He is the Research Director of the IDEAL (Investing in Diversity, Equity, Access, and Learning) research project. He teaches undergraduate courses in Human Resources Development and graduate courses in Higher Education. He has also graduated 12 doctoral students and over 50 masters students. His social justice research agenda focuses on Latino male students, Faculty members of color, and STEM learning outcomes. He has received over $1.6 million in external and internal research funding from the TG Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. He has met President Obama and Vice President Biden and spoken at the White House for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence. He serves on the editorial board for the ASHE Higher Education Report Series. He has published peer-reviewed journal articles, an edited book, and national policy briefs. He has received the 2016 CEHD Climate award, 2014 CEHD Outstanding New Faculty Award, the 2014 CEHD Aggies Commit to Transforming Lives Administrative Fellowship, and the 2010 SAGE Publications most downloaded journal article award. Full biography is available.
Emmet E. Campos, Ph.D., directs Project MALES. Dr. Campos serves as the chief operations officer for all Project MALES activities and is responsible for communications and engagement with key partners. He oversees interrelated initiatives that makeup Project MALES: a Research Institute focused on understanding the experiences of Latinx males across the education pipeline and the Project MALES Mentoring Program, a school-based, peer and near-peer mentoring program that engages and empowers middle and high school students across Central Texas, and serves as a model for other mentoring programs across Texas.
He earned his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies in Education/Curriculum and Instruction from UT Austin and has published articles in the Harvard Educational Review and Voices in Urban Education. Previously, he directed grant-funded initiatives focused on men of color in higher education and Latinx students college transfer and completion at the Center for Community College Student Engagement (UT Austin) where he directed all qualitative research initiatives, served as Project Director for the Institute for Community, University, and School Partnerships (UT Austin) building partnerships between the university, Austin ISD and the greater Austin community to empower young men of color to be academic and community leaders, and has also taught at UT Austin, St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College in the College of Education and English Departments.
Ricardo “Rico” Gonzalez (he/él) is the administrative program coordinator for Project MALES and is a third-year doctoral student in the Executive Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership program at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Politics from Oberlin College and graduated with a Master’s in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University. Rico has worked in higher education for 12 years and his research interests include: mentoring, first-generation Latinx college students, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Saul Barrera is a mentoring site coordinator and a doctoral student in the Cultural Studies of Education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S. in Psychology from Union College (KY) and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Carlow University. His developing research interests include Mexican/Mexican American identity, Latino student mentorship, and Resistance as an agency.
Clint LaFuente is a graduate research assistant for Project MALES and is a doctoral student in the Cultural Studies in Education Program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin.
Armando Lizarraga is a graduate research assistant for Project MALES and is currently a third-year doctoral student in the Program for Higher Education Leadership at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned an Associate of Arts in general studies- social and behavioral sciences from El Camino College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Chicana/o studies and sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He recently earned his Master of Arts in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. His past experiences as a community college student inform his research interest. Armando’s research interest includes community colleges, fem/mentoring programs, student support services, Latino males in higher education, and families impacted by the carceral system.
Raul Maldonado is a mentoring site coordinator for Project MALES and a second-year Master’s student in the Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL) at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.A. in Humanities and Political Science from Baylor University in 2021. Raul’s research interests are within LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and first generation students’ access and success in higher education, and policy reform.
Celine Norman is a mentoring site coordinator and a third-year doctoral student in the Cultural Studies in Education Program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin. She received a B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and a Master’s in Cultural Studies in Education from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, critical mentoring practices, community organizing and first-generation, low-income students of color in higher education
Giovanna Urbina is a mentoring site coordinator for Project MALES and is a first-year graduate student in the Program in Educational Policy Planning (EPP) at The University of Texas at Austin. Giovanna received her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in English Literature. Her research interests entail Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, intersectionality, interdisciplinary studies, and critical pedagogy; much of her research emphasizes first-generation academic access support and resource discrepancies for low-income students of color.