Fresno State alumna credits the College Assistance Migrant Program for a successful college career


Carlos Rene Castro/The Collegian

Fany Lopez, an immigrant from Honduras, graduated from Fresno State with a psychology degree. Lopez credits the College Assistance Migrant Program for her academic success at Fresno State.

By Carlos Rene Castro, Multimedia reporter

Fany Lopez and her mother, Suyapa Menjivar, were living in Honduras while her father, Rene, was settled in the U.S. By the time Lopez was 13 years old, her father wanted her and her mother to join him and move to America

Two years later, Lopez and her mother packed their belongings and said goodbye to their family members as her father waited for their arrival.

Fast forward to today, Lopez is a Fresno State alumna, graduating this year with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors.

She said her journey to obtaining a college degree was difficult. She had to adjust to a new language; she said the American lifestyle was more fast-paced than in Honduras; and during all that, she missed the people closest to her.

“I remember when I first came here,” Lopez said. “Leaving all my friends, my brothers and the rest of my family was super hard.”

She managed to navigate a successful college career with the support of Fresno State’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).

At first, Lopez wasn’t aware of CAMP, but she learned about the program through her high school counselor, a former “CAMPer” herself.

She joined the program because of the tight-knit community, with a cohort of around 50-60 students.

“I’m so glad I chose CAMP,” Lopez said. “They provide all of the services to first-generation students.”

CAMP is a federally funded program that offers counseling and academic support to students from migrant or farmworker backgrounds pursuing higher education. The program was founded in 1981, with over 50 CAMP offices nationwide, including Fresno State.

To qualify for the program, students must be first-time freshmen at Fresno State. In addition, students must have participated in the Migrant Education Program (MEP) anytime during K-12 or student or parent(s)/legal guardian(s) must have performed seasonal agricultural labor, such as fieldwork, packing house, dairy, poultry/livestock production or fishing, for at least 75 days within the past two years. Lastly, students must be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.

“The CAMP program helps students with academic support retention services, like peer advising, peer mentoring and study hours,” said Jose Eduardo Mundo Tapia, an adviser for CAMP.

CAMP’s slogan is “a home away from home,” and Tapia said that’s the goal for students in the program. The program also provides first-year students with academic, personal and financial assistance throughout their time at Fresno State.

For Lopez, it was a place for her to connect with other students and create some of her favorite memories in her four years as a CAMPer. Although she left her home Honduras, she said gained a new family at CAMP.

“They were always there for me,” Lopez said.

Lopez was part of the first cohort Tapia has mentored. He remembers her during her freshman year, and he said he’s witnessed her rapid growth throughout her college years as a CAMPer.

“Fany has shown to be resilient and hardworking,” Tapia said. “The fact that she got here at such an older age, to the U.S. from a different country, is impressive.”

Applications to join CAMP are open, and first-time freshmen are encouraged to apply. For more information about the program, visit the office at University Student Union, Room 301, or contact CAMP directly at (559) 278-4768 or visit the CAMP website.