four students at commencement
Two John Jay Programs Recognized by Excelencia in Education

Two John Jay College of Criminal Justice programs – the Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) and Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) – were named finalists for the 2023 Examples of Excelencia in recognition of their intentionality in serving Latino students. Both PRISM and ACE are among 19 Examples of Excelencia finalists and among four baccalaureate programs.

PRISM brings together initiatives that support John Jay science and math students and provides students with the opportunity to engage in long-term, close mentoring relationships with faculty who provide training, personal and career advisement and professional encouragement. The National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences both recognized PRISM as a model of excellence for improving the number of underrepresented students in the STEM pipeline. PRISM is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education and the New York State Education Department.

ACE is a cohort program designed to dramatically improve the percentage of students who earn a four-year college degree by providing a comprehensive program of academic, financial and social interventions. The program is based on the principles of the CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs model, which assists students with earning degrees by providing a range of financial, academic and personal supports including intensive academic advisement, career counseling, tuition assistance and subsidies for textbooks and transportation. ACE is funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women and Bank of New York Mellon.

“We are thrilled that PRISM and ACE have been recognized as Examples of Excelencia finalists,” said Karol V. Mason, president of John Jay College. “Both are data-driven initiatives that embody our commitment to the success of our exceptional students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. The achievements of our remarkable PRISM and ACE students – from completing their degrees in four years or less to earning PhDs from highly selective university programs – demonstrate the positive impact of PRISM and ACE. This honor further cements our status as a Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institution and deepens our dedication to student success.”

“We bring national attention to the Examples of Excelencia finalists because they show what is possible when serving Latino students in their higher education journeys,” said Adriana Rodriguez, vice president for programs at Excelencia in Education. “Beyond enrollment, these programs implement replicable practices that answer questions of how best to reach Latino students and support them to and through college in today’s landscape.”

Examples of Excelencia is the only national effort to identify, aggregate and promote evidence-based practices accelerating Latino student success in higher education. As finalists, PRISM and ACE demonstrate intentionality and impact in improving degree outcomes for Latino and other post-traditional students. Their efforts can inform institutional leaders and practitioners who are proactively seeking ways to build and sustain practices tailored to their students and their communities.

PRISM, ACE and the other finalists were selected through a robust review process of 103 submissions from 20 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate and community-based organizations. Since 2005, Excelencia has received over 2,000 submissions, recognized over 400 programs and awarded over $2 million to the programs making a difference for Latino students.

All finalist programs are featured in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database — the only national, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, policymakers and others interested in effective programs for Latino students.
To see the full list of the 2023 Examples of Excelencia finalists, visit