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COSAM Offers Student Support through PASS Mentoring Program

Published: 02/19/2019

By: Carla Nelson

The Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) works to ensure that all students feel supported and the PASS (Promoting Academic Success in STEM) Mentoring Program is one way the college achieves that goal.

The goal of the PASS Mentoring Program, which is offered through the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (OIED), is to assist students in fostering strong relationships with fellow COSAM students in order to develop a community support system. The goal is to provide each student with a network of peers to navigate the rigors of COSAM as well as the challenges of college life.

Dr. Kimberly Mulligan, director for the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, said the program was in place before she took her position in 2016, but the program has since been modified to be more of a team supportive environment than a one-on-one mentoring program as it was in the past. In addition to peer mentoring, each group is paired with a professional mentor in their field of interest.

“Our goal is to have small groups of students that are working towards similar career goals in an environment where they can find support from one another,” Dr. Mulligan said.

As the careers in pre-health and the sciences shift to a more group and team focused environment, the hope is that the structure of the program will better prepare the students for their desired careers by enhancing their leadership, teamwork, and innovative thinking skills, all while allowing them to build peer-mentor relationships with the talented and experienced people they encounter daily.

“The program provides useful information to the students and also provides a network of students in the same boat and doing the same thing and it provides the ability to lean on one another,” said Matt Gonzales, coordinator of civic innovation for COSAM’s OIED office, who facilitates the program. “I think it provides a good support base. Having support while going through COSAM, which is in no means an easy college, it’s good to know that not only are other people going through the same thing that you are, but also that there are people that have been where you are.”

PASS has an average of 60-70 participants each year and meets once a month for teambuilding meetings. During the meetings, participants split into small groups for specific topic discussions.

Johnathan Grimes, a senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences, has been a part of the program for almost three years.

He said he joined the program because he wanted to form a mentor-mentee relationship with someone who has been on the college same track as him that could help him succeed at Auburn University and beyond.

“This program has not only connected me to many faculty and staff but has also helped me figure out what I want to do, career-wise,” Grimes said. “My mentors have helped build my confidence by presenting new ideas, opportunities and challenges that have ultimately helped me on my journey in reaching my academic, career and personal goals.”

Gonzales said he believes any COSAM student can benefit from the PASS Mentoring Program.

“I think that even if you’re a straight ‘A’ student, there’s always something that you can learn or you can help someone else to learn,” he said. “I think it just really enriches the experience of being a student in COSAM.”

If interested in joining PASS Mentoring Program, visit www.auburn.edu/cosam/departments/diversity/mentor for more information.

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