Westry implements peer mentoring program


“My Hornets Keeper Peer Mentoring Program’s purpose is to help students who are conditionally admitted, meaning that they did not meet the standard academic requirement, but they are given the opportunity to come to school and prove themselves for the summer semester,” said Ronda Westry Ph.D, director of the Academic Center for Educational Success. “They must receive a 2.0 grade point average or they will not be invited back to enroll for the fall semester.”

My Hornets Keeper, a peer mentoring program spearheaded by Westry, is making its way across campus, beginning with its summer session.

Beginning with 24 mentors, who are classified as sophomores and above, and 96 mentees, who have just graduated high school, Westry is beginning her efforts to make mentorship campus-wide. This summer, students are taking three courses, two of which are developmental courses that are meant to prepare them for college level courses.

The students’ courses and mentees are based off their academic challenges exemplified in their SAT/ACT scores and high school grade point averages in one of the following areas: reading, math, and English.

The mentors are chosen by major, meaning that any mentors majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or the College of Business Administration (COBA) are paired with students whose academic challenges fall within the math cohort. Education majors are paired with those who have a deficiency in reading and those in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences are paired with those who need assistance in English.

“Mentors are their source – their go-to person, their role models,” Westry said commenting on being able to see a different side of the student body. “The biggest thing the peer mentor does is serve as the role model. You [the mentor] are to exemplify what a real ASU student looks like. One that’s prideful and does extremely well in school etc. A minimum of 3.0 GPA, is required because I wanted to show students that getting a 3.0 and above at ASU is quite possible. This program and this office is all about raising standards of excellence.”

Despite just being hired in July of 2017 for this position, Westry has added what she calls “a more structured process to the program.”

In previous years, there were less mentors meaning that each mentor was responsible for up to 12 mentees.

This year, mentors were chosen through an application process which require a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Furthermore, the mentors are given a 20-hour work study position, where room and board is covered leaving them responsible for only their tuition.

As they are given these benefits, Westry has made them responsible for ensuring that both one another and students are engaged. For example, each Tuesday, the mentors form one cohort will create a formal workshop and present it to the mentees on topics that could help these students make the transition from high school to college from the student’s perspective.

“Mentees benefit by getting information to be successful. Mentors benefit by working together, learning how to put together a formal presentation which is something you never know when you’ll be asked to do,” Westry said.

Overall, Westry intends for students to learn from one another. Despite the concerns from mentors about their closeness in age, she stresses that their closeness in age is more of an asset than a hindrance. She says that the age helps them relate to one another as a peer, going through the same things; they are the perfect demographic to help these students through freshman year.

“Mentors inspire, encourage, influence their mentees to be the best that they can be,” said Trentqual Rhone, a sophomore history major. “My mentor, first semester, meant a lot to me and I wanted to be that person for someone else. My mentor gave me opportunities, especially in networking, and I hope to give that to my mentees. Being close in age is so helpful because we can relate to one another. It’s easier to relate to someone your age versus someone who is generations away from you.”

“A mentor is someone who is where you want to be in the future and will give you all of the tools that you need to get there,” said sophomore Tyler Rice, a finance major from Mobile, Ala. “It will be a great opportunity to serve my university, it’s my opportunity to make an impact on the lives of other people, teach them what I’ve been taught. I have experienced being a mentee so it gives me their perspective which makes it easy to approach them, as I am one myself. I’m able to tell them what they need to know in a way that they will understand.”