Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly

“The Male Success Initiative at Cal State Fullerton taught me it’s OK to ask for help. now I’ll be the one giving advice.”​

When Josh Kelly started at California State University, Fullerton in the fall of 2017, he was confident about his academic path. But the psychology major did feel the need for a community and more support. That’s where the Male Success Initiative (MSI) came in.

The organization, which helps ensure more young men of color thrive as undergraduates, does so by delivering services targeted to each man, from tutoring to advisement. Most important, though, is establishing a network of mentors for every MSI member and ensuring that members stay in college and earn their degree, both of which are also core tenets of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025.

In addition to the assistance Kelly received from faculty and peers, he was one of 15 incoming freshmen at Cal State Fullerton granted an MSI-Success Scholar Scholarship of $1,500 per semester for four years.

Now a junior, it's Kelly's turn to work as an MSI mentor. “MSI taught me it’s OK to ask for help,” he says. “Now I’ll be the one giving others academic advice and tutoring as well as just being like a big brother since I’ve been through what they’ll be experiencing.”

Read on to learn more about Josh 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 Josh Kelly

Share this story