BRYAN, Texas — The Navigators program at Blinn College is receiving a $180,000 grant bridging students faculty and staff to expand its mentorship program.
“This is a special mentoring program where currently we have 20 plus faculty and staff who are paired with students across the college, ideally students within their teaching discipline or work area,” said Dr. Joyce Langenegger, executive director for academic success, Blinn Bryan Campus.
Through the grant awarded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, students will have the opportunity to work one on one with other students across campus.
“It feels good for me to be part of the first person in Blinn Navigators, also the first gen of my generation to come to college,” said Veronica Thomas, Blinn Navigator. “It’s a big accomplishment for me and I feel without this program, I would not even be here.”
Thomas is a sophomore at Blinn studying criminal justice. As a Navigator, a faculty member serves as her mentor, and now she will get to help other students on campus navigate life.
“They work with these students to be sure that they are connected to all the services that they might need,” said Dr. Langenegger. “Things like tutoring, advising, maybe doing some career guidance.”
“I really think this program is really good for people who don’t have that mentor or that family member or anyone in their life to guide them to where they need to go,” said Thomas.
As Thomas is a first gen student, coming to Blinn has given her the opportunity to follow her dreams.
Next up, she is headed to study in Sam Houston State’s criminal justice program.
“My family, they don’t really know much about college and my mom didn’t attend college either and so with the knowledge Dr. Meek has given to me and the motivation and all that inspiration, I have just been gone with the wind,” says Thomas.
The Blinn Navigator program hopes to bring students together through peer mentoring.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to bring a little bit more structure to the program,” said Dr. Lanegenegger. “It will allow us to hire a director who really focuses full time on making sure that our mentors are properly trained, and everyone is connecting with each other.
The grant will also help with technology support and mentor program management software.
Peer mentors will train in January of 2023 and be ready to go for the spring semester.
You can learn more about Blinn’s Navigator program here.