A new mentor initiative is pairing first-generation, Latino students who study on the Dunwoody campus of Georgia State University’s Perimeter College with upper classmen from the university’s downtown campus.
The pilot student success program, called Proyecto Perimeter, was designed to foster a semester-long relationship – virtual and face-to-face – that gives mentees someone they can turn to for guidance on a variety of college issues. The pilot program is sponsored by Georgia State’s Latino Student Services and Outreach (LASSO) office.
Hallie Dowling-Huppert, LASSO retention coordinator, said the program’s ultimate goal is to foster cross-campus connections, especially for students who’ll transition from Perimeter to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.
Among Proyecto’s participants is Perimeter student Jaqueline Macias, who graduated from high school in May 2016. College, she said, was not in her plans until a counselor convinced her to give it a try.
Shy and reserved, Macias is now in her second semester of classes on Georgia State’s Dunwoody Campus and is part of Proyecto Perimeter.
Blanca Garcia, a junior, heard about Proyecto Perimeter and she said she eagerly signed on to be a mentor. The first in her family to attend college, Garcia remembers the stress and fear of having to figure things out on her own.
“I was the guinea pig of my family,” Garcia said. “It was all brand new.”
Macias is happy to be paired with Garcia, a petite, good-humored criminal justice and political science major. The two met at a Proyecto Perimeter kickoff, where Macias told Garcia she was feeling a little confused about how to access scholarships, find student groups to join and balance her work and class schedule while maintaining a strong GPA.
Garcia feels she’s just the person to help.
“They [students] could eventually figure it out on their own, but why?” Garcia asked. “They need that added assistance.”
Perimeter College offers a variety of success resources for all students. Visit the Learning and Tutoring Center online for more information.