A new mentor support system this semester is helping Shenandoah University students thrive as they navigate the college experience.
Thrive Guides is a Student Support Services initiative run by Marshell Edney, university student services specialist. Thrive Guides are students who are well-versed on university resources and organizations and who are involved on campus. Many are student-athletes, FYS mentors and resident assistants. They are matched with a student who is looking for support — either academically, socially or personally. Student-athletes often help other student-athletes with balancing athletics and classes.
With everything going on in the world, our students need extra support. College looks so different right now. I didn’t want students to feel lonely or isolated. This is someone to connect with over Zoom or in-person; someone who can point them to resources and organizations on campus.”
Marshell Edney | University student services specialist
Currently, there are 20 Thrive Guides at Shenandoah who are matched with 41 students.
Edney matches students together based on information she obtains from a survey that both Thrive Guides and students fill out about their academic needs, their personal and professional interests and goals, their majors and minors, and their hobbies.
Thrive Guides meet with their students throughout the semester.
First-year student Assma Ali ’23 said her Thrive Guide helped and encouraged her to enroll in a pharmacy tech program and then to get a job. She taught Ali interviewing skills, advised her on what to wear to the interview and also reviewed her resume. She also helped Ali with time management and scheduling, while encouraging her to communicate with her professors.
Without her Thrive Guide, Ali said she would have considered dropping out.
My Thrive Guide is awesome. Anytime I need her, I know she’s always there for me. If she weren’t a part of my freshman journey, I wouldn’t be doing so well at school.”
Assma Ali ’23
Junior Jeremy Allinger ’22 holds socially distanced meet-ups with his mentee, a transfer sophomore, at the Brandt Student Center. Both Allinger and his student are biology majors who play a sport. They talk about life, goals, homesickness and time management. Allinger also advises her about the resources at Shenandoah, such as the tutoring program and Mosaic Center.
Allinger signed up to be a Thrive Guide because he said he likes to help people and wants to show them all the good things Shenandoah offers.
“I want to take my experience as a freshman and sophomore and help incoming students have as good an experience as I had,” he said.
Junior Olivia Weinel ’22 is the Thrive Guide for three students: two seniors and a first-year student. The seniors are seeking basic support, like applying to graduate school or doing better in classes, especially the ones they share with Weinel. The first-year student is learning how to transition from high school to college. Weinel decided to be a Thrive Guide to reach outside her social and community sphere.
I really enjoy the program. I’ve met a bunch of new people, and the mentees have been really appreciative of having someone there or walking them through things.”
Olivia Weinel ’22
Senior Mariah Martin ’21 is one of Weinel’s mentees. Weinel has been helping her choose which physical therapy assistant schools best fit her.
“Olivia is patient and very understanding with me,” Martin said. “She always makes time for me and she is overall a great person to talk to.”
For more information on the program, visit @SU_tutoring on Instagram.