Career and academic mentorship opportunities will be available to student starting next semester.
Georgia State’s Student Government Association (SGA) will pilot a student advisory program called Panther Mentor-ship in January 2015, according to the main author and SGA College of Arts and Sciences Senator Justin Brightharp.
Despite the program’s previous title, Big panther Little panther, SGA vice president for Public Relations Camryn Bradley said it is different than the titles of bigs and littles in fraternities and sororities.
“As a member of a fraternity myself, I can attest that this program is nothing like bigs and littles found within fraternities and sororities,” he said. “This program is meant to improve the quality and retention of the students’ education at GSU, ultimately working toward improving the quality of our degrees rather than for social mentor purposes.”
Panther Mentor-ship was also authored by VP of Academic Affairs Sebastián Parra, accorrding to Brightharp.
The program’s goal
The program was passed in spring 2014 and was created to show under and upperclassmen how to academically navigate within their major, according to Bradley.
Bradley also said SGA created the program for underclassmen students to develop academically and prepare or their major.
“The benefits they’d gain are professionalism, advisement for course loads, preparation for their major and ultimately in the prospective careers of their choice,” he said.
The selection process
SGA will decide who is selected as a mentor and mentee. There is no limit to the amount of students who can be involved, according to Bradley.
“It’ll be based off of need, but we do expect the program to be in high demand by the fall semester,” he said.
The selection process for mentorship will be based on merit and organization involvement, according to Bradley.
Brightharp said mentors have a GPA requirement and will be able to complete an application. Mentees will be matched to a mentor based on information provided about their degrees, interests and aspirations.
Lia Vialva, sophomore journalism major, said the former name of the program reminds her of Big sisters and Big brothers and would be a beneficial program.
“I think its a good idea for a program and probably something that college students need because it’s easy to get lost if you don’t have any guidance,” she said. “Since I am a journalism major, I could possibly do an internship through it so that would be cool.”
Although Vialva said she’s never heard of the program, she recommends for it to be advertised during Plaza Time in the courtyard.
Student Lupita Mora said the program is a good idea for students. Although she would like to be mentored by any group, she has a stronger interest for female and Latino organizations.
“I think it would be a good program to get involved with,” she said. “It would help me to adapt to GSU and maybe I could make a new friend.”
She also said bigger organizations such as sports would be most appealing to students.
The organizations involved
Bradley said SGA has been in contact with Campus P.A.L.S. and the American Medical Student Association for mentorship roles.
Georgia State’s Campus P.A.L.S. organization mentors freshmen students at the university to increase enrollment, grades and retention, according to their OrgSync webpage.
American Medical Student Association’s purpose is to give pre-medical students information and networking opportunities, according to their OrgSync webpage.
SGA and possibly peer mentors would also be student leaders in the program, according to Brightharp.
In addition, Bradley said SGA is looking for additional organizations to mentor.
Selected organizations will have to comply with requirements and create reports. Reports will be reviewed by a committee to ensure mentees are getting the resources needed to be successful, according to Bradley.