College Search
Dismiss notification


  • MOSTe
  • 1107 Fair Oaks Ave.
  • South Pasadena, CA 91030
  • (213) 537-9157
  • 1986
  • Amy Ludwig
  • Executive Director
  • (323) 447-0674

Program Description

MOSTe (Motivating Our Students Through Experience) mentors and empowers girls from underserved areas of Los Angeles County to become the next generation of college-educated women. We encourage girls to graduate from college and develop into confident, career-focused agents of social change. Workshops in middle school help to lay the foundation for students to thrive. In these monthly after-school convenings students develop soft skills and a sense of community that serves them on their journeys to college. They learn to advocate for themselves, and how to identify needs and find the resources they require. These workshops instill confidence, communication skills, resourcefulness, stress management, grit, and resilience√ɬĘ??all skills that will help them meet academic goals for years to come and thrive developmentally. Middle school students are also paired with adult mentors, go on cultural and community service outings, tour local colleges, attend an all-day growth-focused retreat, begin to explore professional pathways at our career fair, and take part in celebratory year-end activities. In 9th and 10th grades, students engage in project-based learning and outings. They are still matched with mentors, exposed to numerous kinds of professions, lifestyles, and given the opportunity to explore personal interests. When they reach the 11th and 12th grades students are provided with access to SAT prep courses, college essay coaching, financial aid planning assistance, and 1-1 college counseling. In high school, soft skills are further refined to help set students up for success through college. High school students are also invited to college fairs, career fairs, and family financial aid planning workshops, go on overnight college tours, and lead community service projects. In college, students receive ongoing check-ins to help them navigate the challenges of college life. They are eligible for competitive summer internships and attend programming offered during semester breaks. This includes social gatherings, inspiring lectures with community leaders, and workshops on college transitions and internship applications. After college, students can join our alumnae program where they stay connected through meetups and special events.

Success Stories

My name is Rose Vazquez, and I first joined MOSTE in 2001 as a 6th grader at Henry Clay MS. I heard about MOSTE in my English class. The program sounded interesting so I decided to apply and to my delight I was accepted. I didn't know this at the time but the MOSTE program would forever change my life.

As a middle school student in MOSTE, I was exposed to the significance of going to college and the impact a college degree would have on my life. MOSTE workshops, mentors, and speakers provided information about how to get into college, which I didn't otherwise receive at home. Coming from a low income family, my parents' primary focus was to support the family. As a result there were never any discussions about or plans for me to go to college. MOSTE filled this gap and provided the knowledge and support I needed to make college an attainable goal.

One of my most memorable moments in the MOSTE program was when I spoke at the annual Lanterns event. I was asked to speak about my experiences in MOSTE and the impact the program had had on me thus far. It was an honor to be chosen to speak and the opportunity further boosted my confidence in myself to attend college and be successful. Another memorable moment was when we visited UCLA. This tour was special because it was the first time I had visited a college campus. This visit truly impacted my perception of college by making it more concrete and real. I was finally able to visualize myself on a campus as a student.

My mentor Barbara Hensleigh further cultivated my desire to pursue college. She taught me that with determination anything was possible. Also, that possessing a college degree was key to creating a better life for myself. She provided support, encouragement, and opened up numerous opportunities for me. For example, she made it possible for me to study abroad for a year in Belgium, during my junior year of high school. My year abroad was amazing; I was able to travel to different countries and meet people from all over the world. My year abroad opened my eyes to how much the world had to offer and how much I could also give back. Needless to say college became a priority for me; there was no doubt in my mind that I would go.

When I was accepted into UC Santa Barbara I was so excited. The beautiful campus and city were perfect. My first year was challenging but with Barbara's support I was able to succeed. During my Sophomore year, I began to volunteer with MOSTE and provide support for current mentees. This was a rewarding experience because I was able to share my knowledge with future college students. After four years, I graduated with a BA in Sociology and Spanish. At this point, I knew that my next step would be graduate school.

I'm now in graduate school at the University of Southern California studying Social Work. Barbara continues to support my academic career as I prepare to graduate in May of 2014. I have also deepened my involvement in MOSTE as a college success coordinator for the Post MOSTE students. It's been gratifying to be able give some of the younger students in the program college tips. Looking ahead to this spring, I'm planning to have the opportunity to travel to India on a field work assignment.

MOSTE has been one of the most influential programs in my life. As a result I have been the first in my family to graduate from high school, go to college, and earn a master's degree. I attribute a significant portion of my success to the MOSTE program, the great female role models I was exposed to, and my mentor Barbara. More than ever, Barbara is a great part of my life. As I always tell others when speaking of Barbara, "I was blessed to have two mothers."

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Other
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants


Race & Ethnicity

  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 7%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 80%
  • African American: 13%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 60
  • Middle School: 30
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 102
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically High-performing
  • Undocumented Students (5)


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Barnard College
  • Bryn Mawr College (2)
  • Hamilton College
  • Lycoming College
  • Pitzer College (2)
  • University of Southern California (1)
  • Willamette University (1)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 100%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 75%