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2017-18 TRIO Student Support Services Peer Mentors

The Peer Mentors for the Wabash Valley College  TRIO Student Support Services program had their first meeting recently with Academic Counselor Tayna Smith.  Smith communicated the expectations she had of the mentoring program, and since training had been completed, plans for the upcoming academic year were discussed.  The mentor program is an important part of TRIO Student Support Services at IECC.  Students can always use an extra layer of support, and the program fosters relationships and friendships that have lasted for years.  The following are excerpts taken from the “Competitive Preference Priority 2(b)” portion of the Federal grant-writing cycle in 2015 regarding the Peer Mentor program.

“This main objective of TRIO SSS can be positively influenced through the use of Project Counselors as Academic Advisors and personal mentors/coaches.  Additionally, the TRIO SSS Peer Mentor program is an extra layer of support which garners the same results.

“For TRIO SSS, the Project Counselors and Peer Mentors operate in similar fashion by discovering the students’ goals, identifying any perceived weaknesses the students feel they have, and determining what their lives consist of outside of college.

“It is important that students have positive role models for academic success.  The student mentor/coach is a conduit for the struggling student to academic assistance and study strategies. 

“In identifying student Peer Mentors for the program, the Project Counselors meet with a prospective student in order to determine the student’s interest in being a future mentor.  This one-on-one counseling session conveys the requirements of the mentor position and the Project Counselor’s verification of necessary qualifications.  The Peer Mentor position applicant should have strong academic habits and values; should possess effective communication skills; should have leadership ability and/or experience; and, should demonstrate understanding of and ability to address the special needs of eligible students.

“Trio SSS first-year students are assigned a peer mentor who is a student who exceeded expectations as participants in the program academically while showing leadership ability.  The assignment, made by the Project Counselor, may be made on basis of academic pursuits, life experiences, or a combination of those elements that the Peer Mentor and mentee have in common.  For instance, a single parent student will be assigned a peer mentor who is a single parent or a student with children if possible.  These like personal experiences can provide an atmosphere of community not usually introduced into the college experience.  ‘College mentorship has elements of academic preparation, information gathering, and social integration. The idea is to create a community where the students will not feel isolated.’ “ (Bettinger Study)

Hillery Clark, one of the mentors stated, “I think the opportunity to be a mentor is helping me become a better person and more responsible.  I love it.  And it gives me the chance for so many opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t normally be able to do.”

TRIO Student Support Services at IECC is 100% funded by the Department of Education.  For the past program year, the dollar amount of the Federal funds for the program was $301,110.00.

Photo Caption:  The 2017-2018 Peer Mentors for WVC TRIO SSS are, from left to right:  Amanda Hundley, Theresa Coleman, Hillery Clark, and Leslie Graham. 

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