Pick your Mentor

Julia Eilert

James Barraclough, director of undergraduate initiatives and student success lecturer, led students through “Pick Your Mentor,” a skillshop where they registered for BodJobs and browsed through available mentors. 

The skillshop was held at noon Oct. 5 to 6 in the Mabee Library. 

“I think it went well,” said Rowan Plinsky, freshman mass media major. “I found some cool people that I’d be excited to match up with. I’ve been looking for a ‘big kid’ to help me. Just someone to offer advice and help me through.”

While the program is geared towards first-generation students, it is open to anyone that is interested in connecting with a member of the community.

Steve Hagemen, student success lecturer, said he believes the workshop makes a positive impact on Washburn students.

“It’s something that I feel strongly about and that I can see from the past year’s experiences the positive impact these mentors have had on some of our students,” said Hageman. “I think that for people whose parents didn’t go to college, it can be daunting, and there are all kinds of moving parts that are not clear.”

According to Barraclough, almost 50 percent of students enrolled identify as a first-generation student.

“That first couple of years of college is a profound amount of change,” Hageman said. “Anybody who can help people go through that period, give them advice, offer them suggestions, tell them who they should talk to or be somebody to talk to, can be very beneficial.”

This will be the second year that the program is available to students.

“It was really born out of how we can try to meet the growing needs of a population of students that we wanted to find a way to serve,” said Barraclough. “We have some fantastic community members that are really excited for this opportunity.”

Once a student and mentor are paired together, they have an initial meeting with someone from the Student Center for Success. After that, it is up to the pair to decide how often they will meet.

“I’m excited because I think there’s a lot of information that they already have that could be beneficial to me,” said Quincy Bocquin, undecided freshman. “[They could] help me not just determine a major, but also help me in the long run.”

There are around 200 mentors from the community looking to mentor a Washburn student. Whether the pair chooses to grab coffee together to occasionally check in, or sit down on campus for meetings on a regular basis is entirely up to them. 

“I’m looking forward to someone that can show me leadership and sort of guide me,” said Summer Root, freshman nursing major. “Everything was set up really easy and they guided me through everything. It was great.”