Obama Scholars mentors offer keys to success

<p>ASU student Tenneille Choi credits the Obama Scholars program for enabling her to attend ASU and also credits the program's mentoring component as being crucial to her success.</p><separator></separator><p>“I really appreciate what the Obama Scholars Program represents and does for ASU students,"&nbsp;said Choi, a Barrett Honors College student and Provost Scholar.&nbsp;"Without it, there is probably no way I would have been able to go to college, and for that I am so grateful. It's also really comforting to know that I'm a part of a program that is so dedicated to my academic success.”&nbsp;</p><separator></separator><p>This type of student success is only possible through the efforts of faculty and staff who volunteer to become mentors. Mentor applications for the program are now being accepted through July 15 for the 2010-2011 academic year.</p><separator></separator><p>Last year, more than 1,700 Obama Scholars are matched with a faculty, staff or student mentor in their first year at ASU.</p><separator></separator><p>Mentors not only guide students through college, they are helping the nation and the state improve global competitiveness. Arizona’s current college graduation rates are dismal with just nine out of 100 students who begin high school attending college and earning a bachelor’s degree.</p><separator></separator><p>"Being a good steward of someone's early college education as an Obama mentor is a rewarding experience,"&nbsp;said Edwin Gonzalez-Santin, a&nbsp;faculty member&nbsp;of the Downtown Phoenix campus. "I felt the mentees and I developed a meaningful relationship."</p><separator></separator><p>Students who have mentors are more likely to be better connected to student support and resources. A mentor’s role can take many paths from pointing a student to university resources to simply being there when a student needs a sounding board.</p><separator></separator><p>"As with many of our first-year students, my Obama Scholar needed time to adjust to the new college environment and not be so hard on himself when things didn't go perfectly,"&nbsp;said Heather Hoyt of the Department of English at the Tempe campus.&nbsp;"That's why we're here to help and I think it's making a very positive difference."&nbsp;</p><separator></separator><p>The Obama Scholars program provides funding for direct costs to all academically qualified Arizona freshmen from families that earn less than $60,000. Covered costs – minus expected family contributions – include tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Obama Scholars also are required to participate in a work-study program.</p><separator></separator><p>To learn more about becoming an Obama Scholar mentor, click <a href="http://students.asu.edu/obama/scholarsfaculty/staffmentorform2010&quot; target="_blank">here</a>. To contact Ken Hollin, click <a href="mailto:ken.hollin@asu.edu">here</a&gt;. &nbsp;</p>