Smeal Student Mentors ease first-year students' transition to college life

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Smeal Student Mentors organization — made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors in the Penn State Smeal College of Business — help ease the transition into college life for first-year students in Smeal.

Every first-year student in Smeal is assigned a mentor. Mentors reach out to their assigned students before classes begin and act as a resource to them through the first months on campus. The mentors also host a fall barbecue in the second week of classes to bring mentors and first-year students together in a relaxed environment.

“The most important time for us as mentors is early in the fall,” said the organization’s president, Tony Giannetta. “We try to help the first-year students have a seamless transition.”

“It was comforting to know I had someone to give me a student perspective. I wanted to be able to do that for other students.”

— Lindsey Nelson, Smeal Student Mentors THON/alumni relations chair

The connection with a mentor gives first-year students their “first friend on campus,” whether they have questions about University resources or where to go for pizza.

“One student needed a tour of the library,” said Lindsey Nelson, who now serves as the organization’s THON/alumni relations chair. “So I showed him around and pointed out some good places to study.”

Both Nelson and Giannetta cite their positive experiences with their own mentors for wanting to be involved with the organization themselves.

“It was comforting to know I had someone to give me a student perspective,” said Nelson. “I wanted to be able to do that for other students.”

“We have a great group of mentors, and I think the program is really helpful to first-year students.”

— Tony Giannetta, Smeal Student Mentors president

In addition to meeting with their assigned first-year students, mentors also give presentations in first-year seminar classes, and will host a snack and schedule event in October to help students schedule classes for the spring semester.

“Even just since I’ve been at Smeal, the program has really grown, both in reach and effect,” said Giannetta. “We have a great group of mentors, and I think the program is really helpful to first-year students.”

Learn more about the Smeal Student Mentors organization, overseen by academic adviser Devon Thomas, at www.smealstudentmentors.weebly.com.

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Last Updated September 24, 2013