IRONTON — This fall, a group of 20 freshmen will start the semester at Ohio University Southern in the company of new friends, thanks to a $20,000 peer mentoring grant. The project, under the direction of Purba Das, Ph.D., will assist students in their quest to thrive academically.
The project is the first regional campus collaboration for the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention Peer Mentorship program, or OMSAR.
Das welcomed mentees and mentors in a reception at the Ironton Campus last week, celebrating the convening of the pilot program that offers peer mentors, enrichment training and special activities to recipients of Bobcat PAWS scholarships (Pursuing Achievement With Southern). “Mentoring has always been a passion for me. I wanted to make
sure the first generation and marginalized students get much-needed help and support to navigate college and come out successful,” Das said.
Nicole Pennington, Dean of the Southern Campus, greeted the students and encouraged them to connect with one another in the mentoring relationship, which she described as a “meaningful process.” Pennington told the group the OMSAR project “is a chance for you to grow here and find success.”
Marlene De La Cruz-Guzman, Ph.D., with the University’s Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention and Imants Jaunarajs, Ph.D., with the Career and Leadership Development Center are collaborating with Dr. Das on the project. Joining the reception via conference call, De La Cruz-Guzman expressed excitement for the Southern Campus students to participate. “Programs like OMSAR are instrumental to student retention,” she said. Retention in college for students engaged in mentoring is successful and is in the 80-85 percent range, she continued.
Das said the project is hoped to provide a seamless experience for participants who are first generation, women, underrepresented minorities, and Appalachian students.
The project was awarded support by the 1804 Fund of the Ohio University Foundation for a two year grant. For information about supportive services available for students at Ohio University Southern, call 740-533-4600 or visit online at http://ohio.edu/southern.