Driven by Successes, Student Mentoring Program Expands
By: Monica Hernandez, Staff Writer
Oklahoma City Community College’s mentorship program, Students Connecting with Mentors for Success has expanded the mentoring program to now include African-American female students and Latino and Native American students, SCMS Coordinator Jermaine Peterson said.
Launched in the Spring of 2016 by OCCC President Jerry Steward, the program first sought to provide academic, financial, and professional support for African-American male students.
SCMS focuses on providing mentorship for students by pairing each student with a mentor.
The program not only provides academic guidance but also supplies participants with information regarding how to dress professionally, compose sound emails and learn how to make connections with their professors, Peterson said.
SCMS has consistently shown itself to be successful as graduates collectively earned over $246,000 in scholarships this past academic year, Peterson said.
Also, 18 SCMS students graduated from OCCC in May, and 93 percent of them transferred to four-year institutions, he said.
The program’s overall Spring 2019 average GPA was 3.31, Peterson said.
“The program’s main hope is to not only help individuals become better students but also better people”, he said.
“When the program was just for black males, the idea was to make them better men, better fathers, better spouses. Because if they’re doing better in their personal lives, they will be a better student as well”
Peterson said.Peterson said the mentor program is needed because there is generally an underrepresentation of faculty/staff of color in higher education.
“When I was at OU, I never had a black professor. Just seeing someone that looks like you in a place of influence—that can be really powerful,” he said.
SCMS Coordinator Tracey Morales said she agrees that it is important to have a support system in place because many students lack proper resources and knowledge about college.
A first-generation student herself, Morales said her family did not truly understand why she wanted to pursue higher education, “My parents did not want me to go to college.”
“It wasn’t until I was a senior that they got it. At my graduation, my dad asked when I’m getting my master’s degree,” she said.
“And that’s when it clicked to me they actually understood how important my education is to me.”
To join the mentor program, students should call 682-1611 ext. 7149.