Penn State Berks launches Adult Learner Peer Mentor Program

Penn State Berks students
Credit: Michelle Bixby

WYOMISSING, Pa. — In an effort to better serve its adult student learners, Penn State Berks has launched the Adult Learner Peer Mentor Program for the fall 2022 semester. The program seeks to enhance and enrich adult education by pairing seasoned and academically successful adult learners with incoming adult students.

Mentors were nominated by faculty and staff. Those nominated embody characteristics and qualities such as having positive attitudes and a willingness to help others.

"Being selected as a mentor by my faculty means the world to me," said Claire Milus, a communication arts and sciences major, of the impact of being nominated as a mentor. "As a student who has persevered in both my personal and educational life, having the opportunity to help others through their journey at Penn State Berks is an honor. After figuring out my own path at Berks, and making many mistakes along the way, I feel confident in assisting those who are new or need help deciding which pathway they would like to journey down. I cannot wait to start this journey as a mentor."

The Adult Learner Peer Mentors are comprised of both current adult learners and recent graduates. The mentors for the 2022-23 academic year include current students Catalin (CJ) Gafencu, science; Molly Kellum, electro-mechanical engineering technology; and Milus, as well as alumni Zach Martin, class of 2022, information sciences; and Tyler McGrogan, class of 2022, kinesiology.

When asked about the importance of introducing the Adult Learner Peer Mentor program at Penn State Berks, Martin said, “It’s not the speed but direction you are going, and being a mentor is an amazing opportunity to help provide this direction for others.”

By assigning each mentor with five or six new adult students as mentees, incoming adult learners will have an instant connection to the Penn State Berks campus and community. Through the program, mentors may provide additional support in navigating the system, connecting students to the campus and resources, and providing one-on-one academic encouragement.

“I am both emboldened and inspired to be a mentor to the incoming students, as my successes are in part due to the incredibly talented and altruistic team of professionals that have mentored me in my own journey,” said Gafencu. “I believe that while everyone can certainly succeed on their own, without the encouragement of others, it is undoubtably empowering to have those who have succeeded in their own right reach back and help those just starting their journey.”

For more information on the Adult Learner Peer Mentor Program or adult learning opportunities, contact Kathy Cavanaugh, education program coordinator, at 610-396-6220 or via email at [email protected]