Jackson State University alumnus Dr. Krystal Martin, director of Student Success for South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) in Lafayette, has landed the Predominantly Black Institutions Program – Formula Grants.
The U.S. Department of Education will award $2.8 million to SLCC over the next five years. The college is the second in the state of Louisiana to host the grant.
Martin is a three-time graduate of JSU, receiving her bachelor’s of social science in 1993, a master’s of science in guidance counseling in 1996 and recently completing her Ph.D. in urban higher education in 2015.
Praising her alma mater for her current success, Martin explains that she was once required to write a grant as part of a class project. Through the aid of her professors, Dr. Nicole Campbell-Lewis and Dr. Felix Okojie, Martin submitted her first grant to the Entergy Foundation.
“I won the grant due to the teachings we learned in class. I followed the instructors and everything they said, and with their assistance I won the grant,” said Martin, a native of Gloster, Miss.
Unbeknownst to Martin, her class project would be the initial groundwork for landing the PBI grant.
“Had it not been for that class, the sheer experience and the foundation that the class provided for us I probably would have never attempted a grant. It took that class to get me to try to write a grant on my own,” she says in a tone resounding with admiration.
After graduation and transitioning to Louisiana, Martin said, “I immediately recognized a need in this community for more access opportunity for underserved students or students who may not necessarily go to college or finish college.”
African-American students at SLCC is 37 percent and includes first-generation students, low-income students, non-traditional students, single parents, veterans and students who are employed full-time.
SLCC objectives are to increase the college completion, enrollment, retention and transfer rates of African-American students. Additionally, the grant is designed to benefit African-American students by “putting people in their corner.”
“When you have a mentor or people in your corner who say, ‘Yes, you can’ I can tell you those students succeed,” Martin shared.
Martin has served as the assistant coordinator of Student Success at Georgia Perimeter College; coordinator of the Office of Retention and Academic Support at Alabama A&M University; director of Student Success and Retention at Arkansas State University at Beebe; and director of TRiO Student Support Services at Navarro College.
Martin’s plans for the grant also include establishing a Center for Minority Excellence on the SLCC campus. The center will offer support services such as tutoring and mentoring as well as helping students complete programs on time and graduate within two to three years.