The Mentoring, Educating and Training for Academic Success (METAS) Peer Mentoring Program through the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center is accepting applications for 2018-2019 mentors until March 26.
Interviews for prospective mentors will be conducted through March 30. Interview time slots may expand past Friday, however, if that is necessary because of the number of applicants, 2018-2019 program coordinator Shariel Rodriguez-Echevarria said.
METAS is a year long peer mentoring program through PRLACC, which pairs a first year student with a current UConn student. The program involves a series of social, professional, emotional and academic development events, Rodriguez-Echevarria said. These events have included game nights, financial aid events and mental health events in the past.
The program currently involves roughly 40 to 50 pairs of mentors and mentees, but is looking to expand, Rodriguez-Echevarria said. The application link is available through UConn Daily Digest, UConn Buy or Sell and PRLACC’s Facebook page.
“We haven’t put a cap on the number [of applicants] because we want to see it grow even more,” program coordinator Valeria Popolizio said.
Training for mentors takes place during the summer before classes begin in the fall, Rodriguez-Echevarria said. During this time, there are also bonding events for the mentors to become acquainted with one another.
“It’s really exciting for us to see that we have so many people to work with and everyone is so excited about it,” Popolizio said.
Members of the program also plan to collaborate more with other groups and organizations. The group has collaborated in the past with the Brazilian Student Association and other groups for various activities; this past weekend, the group had a movie night with SUBOG, Popolizio said.
In 2015, when Rodriguez-Echevarria became involved with the program as a mentee, the cohort included only 14 mentor-mentee pairs. The program has since expanded exponentially, Popolizio said, and does not expect to stop growing. The program has also become more diverse over the years, Rodriguez-Echevarria said.
“I recommend people get involved with the program for many reasons,” Rodriguez-Echevarria said. “Because of METAS and the people I’ve met in this program, I’ve grown into a leader. I’ve come out of my shell. I’ve done will academically. My mentor has been my best friend.”
Popolizio emphasizes that relationships in the program are built not just between mentees and mentors, but among the mentors themselves.
“It makes such a huge campus feel a little smaller and makes you feel that you really have your place. It’s nice because it’s not just social,” Popolizio said, “We all have different life experiences. We all have different backgrounds. We all have different connections here at UConn and everyone is so willing to help you.”
Miranda Garcia is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.