Dr. Purba Das meets for the first time with Bobcat PAWS/OUS-OMSAR Peer Mentorship Program students.

Dr. Purba Das meets for the first time with Bobcat PAWS/OUS-OMSAR Peer Mentorship Program students.

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Southern Campus launches unique peer mentoring program


IRONTON, Ohio – Ohio University Southern freshmen Bobcat Pursuing Achievement With Southern (PAWS) scholarship recipients met with their faculty mentor, Associate Professor and Campus Program Liaison for the Communications Studies Program Dr. Purba Das, for the first time last week.

This year’s Bobcat PAWS students will serve as the inaugural cohort of a unique peer mentorship program, Ohio University Southern-Office of Multicultural Student Access and Retention Peer Mentor Program (OUS-OMSAR PMP). Ohio University Southern OMSAR Peer Mentors will serve participants the same way that OMSAR serves Promise Scholars at Ohio University in Athens. 

Das feels that OUS-OMSAR PMP will provide Southern Campus students with tools and resources to help them finish their degrees and attain their dreams. 

“This is such a great program to have on our campus,” Das said. “We are excited to see it grow and provide a diverse range of opportunities to our students. We are collaborating closely with the OMSAR office in Athens, and they have been a terrific asset.”

“The OMSAR-OUS Peer Mentoring program is an innovative collaboration that allows OMSAR and the Southern Campus to support first-year students with an established, well-recognized and extremely successful peer mentoring program,” said Dr. Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmán, director of OMSAR Athens. 

Cruz-Guzmán added, “For OMSAR, this pilot program is a transformative application of its successful peer mentoring program to serve regional campuses and to increase first-year retention and graduation rates across Ohio University campuses. OMSAR boasts an 85 percent retention rate for its scholars from year one to year two on the Athens Campus. OMSAR is delighted to have created such a strong partnership with Ohio University Southern to support diversity and inclusion at OHIO. We hope that the next step will be an OMSAR Peer Mentoring program across all Ohio University campuses with the Southern Campus at the forefront of this important collaboration.” 

Alison Moore, assistant director for Multicultural Retention Services, said that she is also eager to see this initiative take off at Ohio University Southern. 

Moore said, “I am so excited about OMSAR’s partnership with Ohio University Southern and our efforts to advance diversity and inclusion on all regional campuses. For more than 30 years, LINKS — a peer-mentoring program for first-year multicultural students — has been the cornerstone of support for students on the Athens Campus. As such, it made sense for us to work with the regional campuses, starting with the Southern Campus, to bring successful elements of the LINKS program – including peer mentoring — to their campuses to assist them with the support and retention of their multicultural students.”

Bobcat PAWS recipients were selected last spring, as juniors, based on recommendations of their respective high school guidance counselors. To qualify, they must have a high GPA and a reputation for a strong work ethic. PAWS is a “high touch” effort in the 18 area high schools, geared to recruit hard-working, successful students who may not necessarily be recruited by other colleges basing selections on ACT scores. Each Bobcat PAWS student is given top priority for Southern Campus scholarships of $1,000 each from the already established Freshman Leadership Awards. 

During the fall semester, PAWS scholars will attend several workshops on leadership and navigate their initial semester at the University. They will also participate in discussion sessions with Das and representatives from Athens. Dr. Nicole Pennington, the dean of the Southern Campus, and Dr. Salome Nnoromele, associate dean, greeted students at their first meeting and shared words of encouragement to students. 

Das hopes that qualifying students will be selected as peer mentors from this group for the incoming fall Bobcat PAWS scholars. 

Ohio University Southern Bobcat Paws Scholars, Fall 2017
Ashlee Blankenship 
Madison Evans
Jacob Hain
Hannah Hermann
Chayenne Lubin
Sarah Sizemore