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Peer Mentors, Mentees Convene at Ohio University Southern
August 30, 2018 : Peer Mentors, Mentees Convene at Ohio University Southern
This fall, a group of 20 freshmen will start the fall semester at Ohio University Southern in the company of new friends, thanks to a $20,000 peer mentoring grant. The project, under the direction of Purba Das, Ph.D., will assist students in their quest to thrive academically.
The project is the first regional campus collaboration for the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention Peer Mentorship program, or OMSAR.
Purba Das, Ph.D.Dr. Das welcomed mentees and mentors in a reception at the Ironton Campus last week, celebrating the convening of the pilot program that offers peer mentors, enrichment training and special activities to recipients of Bobcat PAWS scholarships (Pursuing Achievement With Southern). “Mentoring has always been a passion for me. I wanted to make sure the first generation and marginalized students get much-needed help and support to navigate college and come out successful,” Das said.
Nicole Pennington, Dean of the Southern CampusNicole Pennington, Dean of the Southern Campus, greeted the students and encouraged them to connect with one another in the mentoring relationship, which she described as a “meaningful process.” Pennington told the group the OMSAR project “is a chance for you to grow here and find success.”

Marlene De La Cruz-Guzman, Ph.D., with the University’s Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention and Imants Jaunarajs, Ph.D., with the Career and Leadership Development Center are collaborating with Dr. Das on the project. Joining the reception via conference call, De La Cruz-Guzman expressed excitement for the Southern Campus students to participate. “Programs like OMSAR are instrumental to student retention,” she said. Retention in college for students engaged in mentoring is successful and is in the 80-85% range, she continued.

OMSAR project at Ohio University Southern.
Mentors and mentees gather for a group photo at the convening reception of the OMSAR project at Ohio University Southern. (Back Row L-R) Jacob Haines, mentor; Edward Blair, mentee; Ethan Hamilton, mentee; Sarah Shavers, mentee; Caleb Kiser, mentee; Emily Robinson, mentee; Ashlee Blankenship, mentor. (Front row L-R) Jarrett Cartmill, mentee; Sarah Sizemore, mentor; Dr. Purba Das; Makenlee Sparks, mentee; Madison Evans, mentor; Sarah Goddard, mentee; Oreatha Murray, advisor/recruiter.

 Das said the project is hoped to provide a seamless experience for participants who are first generation, women, underrepresented minorities, and Appalachian students.

Peer mentoring project at Ohio University Southern.
Madison Evans, a mentor, and Sarah Shavers, Caleb Kisor and Emily Robinson, mentees, enjoy the first meeting of the peer mentoring project at Ohio University Southern.

The project was awarded support by the 1804 Fund of the Ohio University Foundation for a two year grant. For information about supportive services available for students at Ohio University Southern, please call 740-533-4600 or visit online at