Photo by Erin Patrick.
Flyer Rise members participate in Diversity Week by sharing their experiences as minority students.
In an effort to share its goals of mentorship, the Flyers Rise organization hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday, April 24, during Diversity Week.
Flyers Rise is a mentoring program that connects Lewis alumni with underrepresented minority students, and helps provide each student with guidance and support throughout the semester. The Flyers Rise program, which is in its second year at the university and is based out of the Office of Multicultural Student Services, is currently set to continue through at least the 2019 academic year.
The panel consisted of two mentors and two mentees who talked about their experiences in the program. The discussion was designed to enhance diversity week by supporting underrepresented students who seek help through their college experience and post-graduation success.
“I’ve been undecided as a major and I felt like I could utilize a program to figure out what I could do,” said sophomore computer science major, Kwintyn Porter, during the discussion. “I needed someone to tell me what they did and how they did it.”
The program is utilized on a volunteer basis, where all mentees and mentors volunteer their time and commitment to each other. Each mentor and mentee must meet with each other for a total of eight hours over the semester.
Lewis alumnus, Dr. Michael West mentored Porter for the 2018 spring semester. “Kwintyn is very bright and he knew what he wanted, but he needed a push to get himself there,” said West. “I came up with a deadline for him to make a decision on what he wanted to do, and he was able to meet the deadline.”
By matching students with other Lewis graduates, mentees learn how to make certain decisions that can help benefit the future.
“One of the biggest benefits for me in participating in this program is getting a sense of direction,” said Porter. “Knowing that it will be alright, even if I don’t take the traditional route and graduate in four years, helped me a lot.”
To become a mentee, students must be a sophomore, junior or senior with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and be enrolled as an undergraduate student with at least six credit hours.
Lewis alumna, Dr. April West, emphasized how mentors learn just as much from their mentees as the mentees do from them, as well as how rewarding being a mentor can be.
“With this program, you have the ability to learn so much as a mentor and a mentee,” said West. “It’s always nice to have a person in your corner cheering you on and knowing you can count on that person.”
Mentors and mentees can set up their own time to meet whenever is most convenient. Meetings can take place in person, over the phone or by text. The mentors should provide guidance through advice, networking and interviewing skills.
Those who are interested in the program should email the Office of Multicultural Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.