Walking through the halls of Texas Wesleyan can be a bit intimidating even for seniors, but especially for first-time freshmen. Through the mentorship program, students are offered a chance to work with other students, faculty and staff by giving them support and guidance.

Ashley Newkirk, coordinator of New Students Programs, believes the mentorship program is a valuable resource for new students.

“When students have problems or just need someone to talk to, they can turn to their mentor for direction,” Newkirk said.“The program aims to help students transition to Texas Wesleyan University.”

Newkirk said the Mentorship Program matches new freshmen and transfer students with a faculty, staff or upperclassman mentor. Mentors provide the support, encouragement and guidance new students often need for a successful college experience.

Julia Paige, freshman psychology major, was nervous her first couple of days at Texas Wesleyan.

“I was just fresh from high school, and the summer was not enough time to be prepared for all that college had in store for me,”Paige said.

“I feel the Mentorship Program would be great for me and my friends because we really don’t know as much as we think we do.”

According to Newkirk the Mentorship Program was created around spring 2005 to assist with student retention. It was originally offered to freshmen students, but in fall 2008, the program was extended to transfer students.

Newkirk said the program has 103 mentees and 46 mentors this semester.

New freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to participate as mentees. Upperclassmen, faculty and staff have the opportunity to volunteer as mentors.

Newkirk said in order to join mentors and mentees, one must fill out a short application and submit it in person or via email to New Student Programs.

This is Newkirk’s first year at Texas Wesleyan, and she said she can already see the positive impact the program has on the lives of the students.

“I’ve had many former mentees sign up to mentor new students,” Newkirk said. “Their excitement about being a mentor indicates that they had a great experience and they want to provide the same type of support and encouragement to new students.”

Stacy Dissinger is the advising center assistant director and has been a mentor in the Mentorship Program for 5 years.

“I feel this program helps you get in touch with students that you don’t see on a daily basis,” Dissinger said.
“You get to know your mentee on a more personal level and for them to know they can rely on someone to be there for them. ”

Dissinger said the Mentorship Program allows others on campus to get to know students and be more involved in activities with their students.

“There are a lot of opportunities to engage with our mentees such as going to Theatre Wesleyan, or music concerts on campus, luncheons,” Dissinger said.

Newkirk said she thinks the program can also help ease the minds of some parents, because they know their son or daughter has a personal connection with someone on campus.

“I regret not having a mentor during my college days,” Newkirk said. “The wisdom and support of a mentor would have been very helpful.”

Joshua Dunk