West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s new Riverhawks Mentorship Program is in full swing for the fall semester following a successful first run during the summer. The program, led by Dr. Christine Guns, coordinator of developmental education, is designed to assist students in developing the skills necessary to complete college.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the students,” said Guns. “Our ultimate goal is to increase completion rates for new students as well as those considered to be at risk. Eventually I would love to see all new students participate in the program.”
The program began with 11 students who were already enrolled in STEPS (Striving Toward Expectations and Program Success) or English 091. Students were provided with a campus mentor to meet with and discuss a variety of topics including time management, attendance, prioritization and workload management. They also participated in instructional workshops where they learned strategies and received practical items for success such as pens, highlighters and notecards.
At the end of July, the students and their mentors celebrated the program’s completion with a luncheon and award ceremony.
“Coming back to school 24 years after high school graduation was a bit overwhelming to say the least,” said mentee Lisa Kelley. “The program helped me out a lot. The refreshers for note taking and learning styles were very helpful and interesting.”
The college staff members who served as mentors during the summer included Guns, Marie Butler and Robin Ambrozy. There are now more than 200 mentees and 20 mentors for the fall semester.
“I loved this program and hope it continues on throughout the years. It’s like I have two advisers because my mentor helped me with everything from scheduling to financial aid,” said mentee Jessica Woolum. “I know I will have this relationship with my mentor throughout my college career.”