Ofelia Gamez, director of Fresno State’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), was installed today as president of the national High School Equivalency Program (HEP)/CAMP Association at its annual directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
Gamez, who was a CAMP student in 1990 and has directed Fresno State CAMP since July, 1999, will serve two years as national head of the federally funded program that supports students who are migratory or seasonal farm workers, or the children of such workers, during their first year of undergraduate studies.
The program serves approximately 2,000 students annually nationwide. There are 60 CAMP students enrolled at Fresno State for the coming fall.
As national president, Gamez will have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of migrant workers. One of her first actions today is to meet with legislators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Department of Education officials. Tuesday she will meet with Reps. Jim Costa (CA-16) and David Valadao (CA-21). Legislative meetings will continue through the week.
She credits migrant programs with helping her reach her goals – as early as kindergarten through the Migrant Education Program (MEP) on through CAMP in college and now as director and national president.
“I will serve this program with a passion and make every effort to translate the successes our Fresno State program has earned to the national level,” said Gamez, who began her professional career here with CAMP as an academic adviser in 1997.
After graduating from Firebaugh High School in west Fresno County, Gamez earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1995 and a master of arts in counseling and student services in 1997 as well as a pupil personnel services credential and later an administrative credential, all at Fresno State.
“I am pleased to be able to give back and help other migrant or seasonal farm working students reach their educational goals as I did through our programs,” the alumnae said
Last year, Fresno State’s CAMP received funding of $2.125 million for a five-year cycle through 2019 by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and Office of Migrant Education (OME).
This makes 30 years that the Fresno State program has been funded. In that time it has earned accolades as one of the nation’s premier programs known for its “best practices,” ranking in the top three programs nationally by the Office of Migrant Education based on annual performance reports.
Gamez said the success of the program is measured by the total number of freshman students served who complete 24 credits and are in good academic standing at the end of their first year.