Valerie Mendoza leads students to a brighter future


Courtesy of Valerie Mendoza

A beloved leader: Valerie Mendoza is the Title III Grant Project Director and a success coach at Washburn.

At Washburn University, there are a few “success coaches” who exist to help students do better in their courses and simply feel better about themselves after a meeting.
“We were just starting our third year of the program, and we keep doubling, so right now, we’re working with just over 200 students,” said Valerie Mendoza, the Title III Grant Project Director and one of the school’s success coaches. “As a freshman, a student might need to see a success coach more often, to work on things like time management or study skills or finding out where the counseling center is.”
As part of Academic Affairs, these success coaches are meant to support student learning and student experiences, effectively assisting any students who come by.
“We meet with students on an ‘as-needed’ basis; Whenever the student needs [to meet], they’ll meet with the student,” said Mendoza. “The success coach helps with anything that could affect the student’s academics.”
Mendoza explained that there is a Youtube channel run by the success coaches, with videos offering important tips for any aspiring student that wants to do better.
“She’s [Mendoza] done a wonderful job; She’s very patient with us, very flexible, making sure the program gets better,” said Yalitza Gonzalez, one of the other success coaches. “At first, we didn’t have a director until she came in.”
Mendoza is also proud of how well some of the students she coached did in the years after, including one student who didn’t get success coaching until halfway through the year.
She said that the coaching has a big impact on people, with two students on academic probation improving so much over a semester that they wound up on the Dean’s list. Mendoza said that most of the students she has dealt with could solve their problems with something as simple as a planner to keep track of time better.
“She [Mendoza] started right after I did and she’s been a good director; We appreciate the work she puts in,” said Shanise Brooks, another success coach. “She goes above and beyond to make sure we feel appreciated and valued here at Washburn.”

Edited by: Crystal Hendrix, Katrina Johnson