The Multicultural Peer Mentoring Program provides new students with a fellow student mentor who can guide them, help them access people and resources as needed, and act as a role model and advocate. Associate Dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs Allen Harrison explained that the program is open to any new student who wants a mentor but its purpose is to assist international, first-generation (first in the family to attend college) and historically underrepresented students with their transition to college life.
In addition to organizing special events for their mentees, mentors make themselves available for their mentees whenever they might be needed. Peer Mentors were recently recognized for their contributions.
This year’s peer mentors were: Abbas Khan ’18, Antonia Ng ’18, Bridget Lewis ’16, Chidera Onyeoziri ’18, Dani Rodrigues ’18, Eli Lichtman ’18, Emily Dumont ’18, Flavia Oliveira ’16, Gabriela Foster ’18, Gillian Mak ’18, Jack Vissicchio ’17, Jeanette Parra ’16 , Junpei Taguchi ’18, Kalvin Nash ’18, Kureem Nugent ’18, Linh Do ’18, Luka Modebadze ’18, Mei Lin Pratt ’16, Missy Paragamian ’18, Sara Lewis ’16, Sindy Liu ’18, Suxian "Suzy" Lin ’18, Tatenda Chakoma ’18, TC Topp ’16, Tsion "T" Tesfaye ’16, Tucker Hamlin ’17, Xiaomi "Joy" Ren ’18 and Zoe Tessler ’16.
“As a multicultural peer mentor, I've had the opportunity to meet people from a multitude of backgrounds. Hamilton students come from so many different places and have so many different stories to tell,” Sindy Liu ’18 remarked.
Dean Harrison spoke to the fact that many first-year students are challenged by the transition to college, and that such challenges can be augmented by academic, social, cultural and geographic concerns. He has overseen the program’s growth throughout its five years at Hamilton.
“For the specific student populations we reach out to, the challenges can be even more prevalent. So by connecting first-year students to experienced students early on, the transition can be made easier,” Harrison said. “The bonus is the diversity within the program. Students are able to connect with peers who are different from them and without the program they may not have been able to build such deep, strong and lasting relationships.”
“Because of this program, I had the chance to meet amazing first-year students and watch them grow as people. I feel proud when I look at the mentees and think about how much they have accomplished in just a year,” Liu commented. “This project means a lot to me because it has helped me form relationships that I will cherish my entire college career at Hamilton … without this program, I would've never met them.”
Sophia Wang ’19 said that the connection with her mentor was her favorite part of the program. “As an international student, being thrown into an unfamiliar language and college environment was very frustrating at the beginning. Luckily my awesome mentor Gillian walked my through that transition process,” Wang said. “Hanging out for lunch, and bowling with other mentors and mentees not just connected me with this small group, but also helped me identify myself as Hamiltonian, being more connected to this Hamilton community.”