“I achieved more as a direct result of the Male Success Alliance at CSU Dominguez Hills.”​

Anthony Plascencia was still 17 when he moved 368 miles from his hometown of Sacramento, California,​ to attend CSU Dominguez Hills​, about 40 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. While he'd always dreamed of going to college in L.A., it wasn't long before homesickness set in.

“I didn't know anybody and I was still a kid," says the first-generation college student. “I had to grow up really quick." After spotting a flyer for CSUDH's Male Success Alliance​ (MSA) on campus his junior year, Plascencia attended a meeting and decided to join the group. Historically, young men of color earn degrees at lower rates than their counterparts. Programs such as the MSA, which are part of the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025​, are working to change this. The alliance improves access, retention and graduation rates of men of color by providing academic support, professional development and mentoring.

Though Plascencia once thought he'd never go to college, in May 2019, he received a bachelor's in criminal justice and hopes to start work in Sacramento County in November as a probation​ officer. And he credits the MSA with providing the guidance to make it possible.

“I felt like I did it, but I also feel this isn't the end," he says. “There's still much more impact to make in the community. I'm going to keep going."

Learn more about Anthony's story and about the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025, which strives to increase graduation rates for all students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps.

 Check out more programs around the CSU that improve retention and graduation rates for men of color:


PHOTOGRAPHY: Patrick Record and courtesy of Anthony plascencia

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