The Rams First mentoring program returns after a hiatus

Tamika Johnson is the one who first expressed interest in restarting the Ram First mentoring program. (Ashli Young)

The once-popular student and faculty mentor program, Rams First, is returning to Texas Wesleyan with the collaborative help of Tamika Johnson and Dr. Christopher Ohan starting spring of 2022.

Rams First Mentoring Program will provide students with one-on-one quality time with an experienced professor or staff member in the student’s field of study. The monthly hour-long meetings will provide extra support for the student while the faculty member gauges the student’s academic needs.

Freshman, sophomore and juniors can sign up through Ram Space for the mentoring program at any time. Currently, there are over 60 mentors available.

Tamika Johnson, the coordinator for the dean of the school of arts and sciences and a current ASE professor recalled her time at Wesleyan as a student, she cherished the monthly meetings with her mentor Associate Professor of Accounting Kimberly Webb.

“Getting to know the professor and talking with them about your trouble, it was a benefit for me [as a student],” said Johnson. “It really helped out, being in contact with my mentor on a monthly basis,” she continued.

Johnson realized while teaching an ASE class that students were struggling this semester, and the mentor program that she knew was not available as a resource for current students. After researching the dissolved program, Johnson discovered that the last time it was available to students was 2018.

With the guidance of Barbara Barnhart, director for student activities and orientation, and assistance from Dr. Christopher Ohan, associate professor of history and coordinator of history, the Rams First program was reinstated.

“Since we’re back face-to-face, we just noticed that students are not here yet. They are here physically but they are not here mentally,” Ohan said.

His concerns for his students stem from the aftermath of pandemic virtual schooling and the high anxiety students feel as class expectations return to normal. Ohan feels that the support and sympathy provided by the faculty mentors will help students reconnect with college life. He just wants to see his students reignite their passion.

“Teaching is something we are all very passionate about or we wouldn’t be here because we don’t make very much money. And it sucks when you teach a class and you feel like you’re giving it your all, but you are not reaching your students.”

Freshman and Criminal Justice major, Gino Martinez is excited about the Rams First program and is impressed with what it offers students. He feels that he will be more successful when he has added support and encouragement throughout the school year.

“My favorite aspect of this program has to be the commitment that the professors have to make sure their students succeed and make sure we [are] doing great. It’s amazing to see professors who just want you to be great in life,” Martinez said.