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. Our student mentors serve as a resource to help first year students successfully transition from high school to college. Student mentors are matched with new first-year students to serve as a resource throughout the academic year, sharing their institutional knowledge, experiences, and college success strategies. By participating in this full academic year program, students will build connections with peers, gain valuable knowledge about campus resources from faculty and staff, and explore a variety of topics aimed at academic, career, and personal development through monthly student success workshops.
The Linkages team currently consists of about 30 undergraduate student leaders who serve as the mentors. This program is led by a team of Student Diversity and Inclusion Services staff, including Shanea Turner-Smith, Program Director, Maddie Clark, Graduate Assistant, and Kevyn Perkins and Jonathan Rosario, who are the 2019-20 Linkages Interns.
Mentors and mentees are expected to attend Linkages Core Workshops, and social events/activities in addition to meeting occasionally during the semester with one of the Linkages Interns. Through participation in Linkages, students can expect personalized attention, 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%.