October 4, 2012
New program puts MSUB students in mentor role with high schoolers
Billings Senior High graduate leads effort to encourage and support academic success
Maggie Connors, Office for Community Involvement, 896-5817
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — In a new effort to encourage academic success with local high school students, Montana State University Billings has developed a new program to connect college students with teenagers at Billings Senior High School.
Organized by the Office for Community Involvement at MSU Billings in conjunction with the TRiO, Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs at the university, MSU Billings students have a new opportunity serve as tutors and mentors to high school-aged students.
Maggie Connors, a 2004 Billings Senior High graduate and serving at the university as part of the AmeriCorps program, is serving as the college-readiness coach and coordinator of the program. She will work with college students, faculty and others at the university to connect with teens at Billings Senior, offering encouragement and support.
“This is a great opportunity for MSUB students,” she said, “especially for those in the College of Education.”
After attending the University of Montana and earning a degree in Fine Arts and a master’s degree in Irish Studies, Connors is back in Billings doing on-the-ground work to encourage college readiness at her alma mater high school.
“I’m interested in promoting this and helping high school students get ready for college,” she said.
Connors is now accepting applications from any MSU Billings student who is enthusiastic about community outreach, mentoring and working with younger students to help them achieve academic success. Students from any area of study or discipline are welcome to apply, since students at Senior High will require assistance in a wide array of subject areas.
The Office for Community Involvement will offer tutor and mentor training sessions for the college students involved in the program. After successfully completing the training, the tutor/mentor team will provide one-on-one assistance to students at Billings Senior High after school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, as well as on Wednesday mornings. Interested volunteers should have available time in their schedules to accommodate at least one of these time slots.
Connor said a key collaborator in the project will be the TRiO, Upward Bound and Talent Search programs at MSU Billings. Those programs serve roughly 700 economically disadvantaged and first-generation college bound students in the Billings community and roughly 130 attend Billings Senior High. These students are in need of additional assistance to ensure their academic success as well as peer mentorship or guidance in order that they may realize their goal to graduate and move on to post-secondary educational programs.
The new program also aligns with MSU Billings’ partnership with local entities, businesses and others involved with the statewide Graduation Matters effort.
As tutor/mentors to the students of Senior High, the MSU Billings volunteers have an opportunity to gain practical and professional experience through public service, Connors said. Additionally, this is a great opportunity for MSU Billings students to gain experience, add to their resume, and build relationships with local educators and administration.
For more information or to find out about applications, contact Connors at the Office for Community Involvement, Room 225 in the Student Union Building, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 896-5817.
PHOTO ABOVE: Maggie Connors