CSU Channel Islands – Peer Mentorship Ambassador Program

At Cal State Channel Islands we are
reimagining higher education to serve a new generation in a new era. Many from our diverse
student body are the first in their families to attend college and
find transitioning into the college experience challenging. To help our students succeed,
CSU Channel Islands established a peer mentoring program
that provides peer-to-peer support for students who need help navigating the
complexities of the university experience. Whether it be academic, social,
or emotional support. Research shows that peer mentorship
programs are truly successful in helping students stay in school
and persist to graduation. What we do is that we try our best to help students have a smooth transition
from high school to college. We do our best to solve any questions that
they have, for example: “Where are my classes?” or “Am I taking the right classes?”
“Who can I talk to if I have financial issues?” or “Who can I talk to if I have
any personal issues?” and so we try our best to tell these students all the
resources that are here on campus. So I currently hold two roles here at the
mentor. My first role is of the university culture mentor. My second role
is as a peer academic success coach, so with that role I’m embedded in the
classroom. I’m able to help them as well not only providing them with resources
but we meet outside of class and I hold meetings of groups of three to five
students and we do workshops, I teach them how to write an email to a professor,
anything that they need help on I help with. I lived with my family for 26
years and just being on my own for the first time was the hardest struggle. So I
really had to like become independent really quick. With the peer mentor that I
had I felt like I was pretty much unstoppable because she was able to give
me that push that I really needed. I inspire students by being myself.
They won’t feel intimidated by you because they know that you are like them, you’re
a student as well so I feel like being myself being honest, sharing my struggles,
sharing my experiences – they’re able to connect with me. That’s how I inspire my
students because I’m honest with them. My mom always said to me: “With success,
you need to sacrifice something,” and I figured that that work is the things
that I need to sacrifice. So that’s the time that I reach out and look out for
like helps and everything and that’s where I met Sara. How I was paired with
him was that we were from the same hometown as well as we had the same
major, so I was able to really like guide him through what I went through to what
he was going through and really get him to succeed. It’s pretty pretty relief
and nice to know that she’s around and like that people can exist in the same place. To help even more of our students succeed, CSU Channel Islands is working
to expand our peer mentoring efforts. With a generous founding gift from
former Second Lady of the United States, Tipper Gore, and the generous
contributions from our CSUCI Foundation Board Members, we have created a Peer
Mentorship Ambassador Program designed to provide financial support
to students who are peer mentors. Each peer mentor will receive a $3,500 stipend
per semester in return for spending more time supporting their fellow students.
This additional financial support roughly equals the cost of fees and
tuition at CSUCI for one semester and will help reduce the need for our
mentors to work one or two additional jobs to cover their educational costs on
top of living expenses. Being able to receive that stipend will have a huge
impact especially because having an experience where I have worked
off-campus it’s not doesn’t really go with like school because they always
want you to work more than what you can and they don’t understand
or support that you have school as well so that stipend will help
especially because I do have loans so that’s gonna definitely help with my
financial need for my education. Our goal is to support at least 60 peer
mentors annually through the Ambassador Program who will, in turn, support more
than 700 of their peers. This funding will provide student mentors with the
guidance and financial support needed so that both they and their mentees can be
successful college graduates. They will graduate with less student debt,
possess the skills and education necessary to thrive in today’s innovation economy, and
achieve their highest academic, educational, and professional aspirations. So I want to thank the donors for all of
the support because not only are they supporting me but, by supporting me they’re helping support all the students
that I help out also all the other mentors here on campus. So it does have
that ripple effect. So thank you so much for everything and for helping
this amazing program. So the advantage for having a peer mentor selected for me would be
that you’re able to communicate with them on a more personal level, like you
have that common interest with them. Students not only are they transitioning
from high school to college but they’re now knowing how to be independent and
when being independent, that means: Sustain yourself financially, holding
your academics, social skills, as well being involved in campus, and having
someone that age or having that mentor you know that you can have a different
perspective and more advice and more support. The statement of the school is
like the student is the focus for this University which is I felt for having a
mentoring and helping me out and dedicate it to give me good advice, good
help for what I need, so which is like the best feeling ever – like I feel like
the center or focus was on me and helping me out to get to my degree and
be a successful student. [Music]

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