Wilkes e-mentor program receives national award

Wilkes’ E-mentoring program’s  hard work and commitment to student success was recognized with a national award.

The award given was the 2013 Excellence Award from the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The program was recognized along with two other schools in the category of “Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, Orientation, Parents, First-year, Other-year, and related.”

“We are honored to be one of a select few to receive a 2013 NASPA Excellence Award, and I am grateful to the Student Development staff and all of the dedicated student leaders, whose passion and commitment to this program have enabled us to receive this prestigious national accolade,” Associate Dean of Student Development Phillip Ruthkosky said.

NASPA is an organization that serves student affairs administrators in higher education. According to its website, NASPA is “the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.”

The e-mentor program at Wilkes University started in 2006 as a way for incoming students to meet students and get any questions answered that they were having about coming to Wilkes.

“The initial goal of the program was to transition students coming from high school to college,” Sharon Castano, coordinator of internships and mentoring said.

Students interested in becoming a mentor go through a hiring process to be selected. They must meet certain academic achievements and get a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

The program is structured so that when high school students commit to Wilkes they receive a mentor in their related major. The mentors communicate with their mentee during the summer and meet at orientation.

The students serve as mentors beginning in May and ending in December. Castano said the program is an important first step for students coming to the university.

“One of the most important variables affecting college students’ level of success is their involvement with campus activities,” Castano said. “Our mentors take a genuine interest in new students and provide that invitation and opportunity to become involved.”

Students are responsible for creating programs during the first smester for their mentees to get them involved.
Since the program has started more than 250 students have been involved in the mentoring process. Castano noted that she knew this would be a successful program.

“No one does this,” Castano said. “When we were starting this program we thought how great this would be.”
Ruthkosky said he is proud of the program.

“It has made a positive impact on students here at Wilkes,” Ruthkosky said.

Castano said she is very flattered to receive the award from NASPA, but is rewarded by student success from her mentors.

“I love it when I see mentees want to become mentors,” Castano said. “To me that is my award.”