Stevenson University has long offered a host of academic and extracurricular programs to its diverse student body. Organizations such as clubs and sororities and fraternities, among others, have had adapt to new methods during the pandemic. The Undergraduate Education Mentor Program was both created and launched during this time to meet students’ extracurricular and academic needs.
The student-led Undergraduate Education Mentor Program kicked off its first meeting this past February as the brainchild of junior education major Morgan Tillery. Tillery, who is the group’s president, saw what was lacking for undergrads in her field: personal connections between those who have been in the major for a while and those who are new to it. She saw the need for a mentor-mentee relationship.
“Typically, [with] in-person [coursework] you have the opportunity to meet and talk to fellow educational majors,” Tillery explained regarding her decision to start the Undergraduate Education Mentor Program. “But because of Covid-19 we don’t get that same interaction [now].”
To address the issue, Tillery developed the program with the aid of Dr. Beth Kobett, Ed.D., Professor of Education and Director of SU’s First Year Seminar. Kobett spoke on nascent education majors’ need to connect to peers who’ve had more experience, particularly when it comes to student teaching. “The freshmen love to interact with the students that are sophomores, juniors, and seniors,” she said. “They want to be able to hear about their experiences and want to interact and learn from them.”
Tillery explained how the program is structured to promote mentorship. “[It’s] similar to how sororities have ‘bigs’ and ‘littles,’” she said, referring to how, like fraternities and sororities, new members of the Undergrad Ed Mentor Program are paired up with mentors who are closer to graduating with a degree in the same or similar academic field, such as secondary ed, elementary ed, math, or humanities.
Though the program’s only a couple months into existence, Kobett stated she believes the interest is high. Promotion and awareness of the program, therefore, is key right now. Presently, there are 16 members, and Tillery said they have already been able to meet independently with their mentors online or in a socially-distanced setting. Kobett and Tillery both expressed hope that soon there will be a more concrete, structured routine for the group – one that includes meeting everyone in person, as well as hosting speakers, giving presentations, and even taking short trips.
For more information on how to join the Undergraduate Mentor Program, contact Morgan Tillery at firstname.lastname@example.org.