The Bucknellian

Peers with open ears

Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

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Scheduling is similar to a game of Tetris. Students search through an expansive array of classes in order to find the courses that best fit together to create an intellectually stimulating, yet manageable schedule.

The Program

The College of Arts and Sciences has recently created and developed a Peer Mentor Program. The program consists of several carefully selected students from a wide range of disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Last semester, the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences decided that the development of a Peer Mentor Program would supplement faculty advising in younger students’ academic planning.

The program facilitates the direct communication amongst students whose interests are not yet defined, and a Peer Mentor who can lend his or her experiential perspective on academic career planning.

Experience in mentorship

Currently, there are three mentors that have been hired for each division of the College of Arts and Sciences: Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Math and the Sciences.

“All of the Peer Mentors that were hired have a wide variety of lived experiences, interests, extracurriculars, and academic paths while at Bucknell,” Executive Intern to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Max Fathauer ’18 said.

“The student advising program was started to create a liaison between the faculty advisors and the student body. Our purpose is to provide thoughtful advice and guidance about classes, majors, and career paths — student to student. With our CCC system we’ve all taken classes in various departments and with our knowledge and experience about what the different courses are like can help give suggestions for what may work best in the schedules of the students we work with,” Humanities Peer Mentor, Izzy Wisen ’20, said.

Mentoring began the first week of classes, as to provide students with the opportunity to speak with a peer about schedule editing within the time frame of the add/drop period.

Although there are no Peer Mentors for the College of Engineering nor the College of Management, the College of Arts and Sciences peers are willing to lend their experience with the academic resources on campus. At the semester’s conclusion, the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences will closely assess the program’s success and share data with the other colleges, with the hopes that the program can be greater developed in future semesters.

“I’m looking forward to being able to relate my personal experiences to the interests of students who can benefit from them,” Social Sciences Peer Mentor Melody Sonnemann ’18 said.

Fathauer, alongside fellow executive intern Kafilat Oladiran ’18, created the program.

“Our favorite part of the program so far has undoubtedly been working with the newly hired Peer Mentors. Bucknell’s faculty do a fantastic job assisting and educating students throughout their academic careers here. Despite their hard work, however, a new environment will always be stressful and difficult to navigate at first for those fresh to Bucknell. It has been extremely rewarding from Kafi’s and my own perspective to develop this program in order to empower newer Bucknellians towards confidence in their academic career during their four years here,” Fathauer said.

Spreading the word

All mentor sessions are held in 210 Carnegie, and in addition to walk-in hours, students can also schedule appointments. Depending on where a student may fall in the division within the College of Arts and Sciences, different peers are available at different hours, Monday through Friday.

“[We try] to make the student advisers accessible to the students in a way that works well with their schedules, so if you have even a small question you can just stop by on your way to wherever you’re going. Come by 210 Carnegie. My hours are Mondays and Tuesdays 11-12!” Wisen said.

As it is the program’s first semester, the mentors are working tirelessly to get the word out about the newly created program. With the help and experiences of other peer learning leaders on campus, including Laura Lanwermeyer, Assistant Director of Student Learning Support in The Learning Center, the Peer Mentor program hopes to experience great success.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment with a Peer Mentor, contact Fathauer or Oladiran, the Executive Interns to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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