LINKAGES Mentor Program
Student Diversity and Inclusion Services coordinates the LINKAGES Mentor Program, which began in 2007, and serves as a formal peer mentoring initiative designed to support the retention of underrepresented students (students of color, first-generation students, and students demonstrating significant financial need) at the University of St. Thomas. Upperclass student mentors serve as a resource to help first year students successfully transition from high school to college. By participating in this program, students will have an opportunity to meet new people, network and build relationships with UST faculty and staff. Throughout the year, students will participate in a variety of student success workshops, attend social activities and engage in interactive community outreach activities.
The Linkages team currently consists of 38 undergraduate student leaders who serve as the mentors. This program is led by a team of Student Diversity and Inclusion Services staff, including Brad Pulles, Retention Program Director; and Alaina Carrion and Shanea Turner-Smith, who are the 2013-2014 Linkages Interns.
Mentors and mentees are expected to attend Linkages Core Workshops, social events/activities, and a community service or volunteer project together, in addition to meeting occasionally during the semester with one of the Linkages Interns. Through participation in Linkages, students can expect personalized attention, intrusive academic advising, career support, and community building.
Over the years, Linkages has proven to be quite successful. Since the launch of the Linkages program in 2007, the average freshman-to-sophomore retention rate for Linkages mentees is 95%, which is higher than the St. Thomas average of 87%.