E-Mentors: the heroes of every new Wilkes freshman

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E-mentors Sam Bickert, top, Christina D'Ippolito, left and Paul Boylan, right, with mentees

Ian Foley, Correspondent

After her first day of class, Bethany Gilson received an email about her first day—not from a parent, sibling or high school friend, but from her E-mentor.

E-mentors are upperclassmen that help first-year students ease the transition to college and build relationships between first-year students and mentors.

Gilson, a freshman pre-pharmacy major, said she learned about Wilkes and tips for classes from her mentor, P3 pharmacy major Christina D’Ippolito.

“I thought it was neat that they put someone at our level that went through what we were going through,” Gilson said.

E-mentors act as orientation leaders during each session as well as at Welcome Weekend and connect with first-year students during their first semester electronically.

“(Christina) kept in touch with us and after the first day of classes emailed everyone asking them how their day was,” Gilson said.

D’Ippolito hosted a caramel apple night, giving the mentees an opportunity to socialize and check in with their mentor at one of several events the first semester.

E-mentors act as extra eyes and ears, looking for questions and concerns first-year students have.  For P3 pharmacy major and E-mentor, Ruslan Barabolkin, it was important to give them the best opportunities possible.

“I had a horrible first year experience when I first attended college,” Barabolkin says. “I told myself that if I could have an opportunity to help someone that was in my same shoes I would.”

Barabolkin believes events help the social and academic well-beings of first-year students by improving their communication and reinforcing the mentor’s presence as a resource for any needs or questions they may have.

“Many times I hear people say ‘I wish I would have known,’” Barabolkin says, “I see the E-mentoring program as the vehicle designed to eliminate this in students and give them the ability to say ‘I know.’”

According to junior elementary education major and orientation coordinator Cora Gibson, E-mentoring is a unique personal interaction tool at the university level. They are the first line of defense in assisting first-year students with beginning their college experience.

“E-mentors are the guide that first-year students need to help them adjust to their new lives,” Gibson says.

First-year students and parents have told Gibson how grateful they are for the program because it made them more comfortable in their transition to college.

Gilson is pleased with the help she has gotten from her E-mentor and the program.

“The program is a very good idea,” Gilson says. “They helped me with the things that I needed to know.”

For more information on the  E-mentoring program visit:

http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/3060.asp