Edinburg, TX — Starting college can be difficult for any student. That's why The University of Texas-Pan American has begun a new program to help its newcomers adjust to campus, Jennifer Berghom has more on that story.
Like many freshmen, Josue Garcia finds the transition from high school to college difficult. But having a fellow Bronc mentor the University of Texas-Pan American student has made all the difference, "She is always there, like, it's just like, if I have any questions at any time, I can contact her or send a text message or emails and any questions from parking laws to anything, classes, schedules, everything. They're always there."
UTPA started its Bronc Mentoring Experience program last fall to assist incoming freshmen who need extra help settling into college. The freshmen, called protégés, are teamed up with an upperclassman who will guide them through their first year.
Garcia's mentor, Bilkis Olazaran-Martinez, is now a junior at UTPA, and says she benefitted from having a mentor when she started school, “It was with the ambassadors program and she was really helpful so I know what it is to be in the protégé side."
Jodie Dominguez, UTPA’s assistant director for the Office of Student Involvement, says UTPA started the program to make sure its newest Broncs thrive in college and graduate.
The protégés meet regularly with their mentors and attend tutoring sessions. they also provide progress reports to let administrators know how well they’re doing in school.
Jodie Dominguez, assistant director for the Office of Student Involvement, “The majority of our protégés are very receptive to the program and they really enjoy it. They like having somebody to go to you know it's not just academic issues that our students are facing, there's many, you know, personal problems that they go to and just having that person that they can go to that mentor that's in place, you know, it eases that transition and eases some of the problems that they're going to.”
So far, the program has been a success. Ninety-two (92) percent of freshmen in the program have stayed at UTPA and are in good academic standing.
Garcia is one of those students. He credits the Bronc Mentoring Experience with helping him navigate through a tough new experience for him, "They just want you to make sure you're doing OK and you have that person to listen to you whenever you need it, someone, because it's hard, especially the freshman year."
I’m Jennifer Berghom reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.
The Bronc Mentoring Experience is just one of the mentoring programs UTPA has. You can learn more by visiting UTPA's website at www.utpa.edu .