Mentorship organization SOARs students to new heights in school
The Georgia College Student Oriented Activities and Resource program (SOAR) gathered Wednesday, Sept. 19 to celebrate the success of the program and begin another year.
“The SOAR program is doing very well; it has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years,” Emmanuel Little, diversity retention & training coordinator, said. “It’s currently surpassed 250 participants; 150 students and over 100 professional mentors. This growth is proof that both students, faculty and staff believe in the mission of the program. Our students are among the most impactful leaders on campus, and last year’s graduating seniors had an average GPA of 3.33.”
The program was established in 1983 to help promote the academic well being of minority students in the University System of Georgia.
“I really enjoy the SOAR program,” Cierra Hightower, junior special education major, said. “I’ve been a part of the program since my freshman year, and it has really helped me be successful in college and in life … I like how we are paired with student mentors and professional mentors based on our major, which really helps us feel connected.”
SOAR’s major goals are the enhancement of academic success, expansion of human potential and creating an environment that fosters success and retention of minority students.
“The best part of SOAR is the level of networking that the students receive, whether it involves interaction with professional mentors, their peers, or with other organizations on campus or in the community that can help them further their goals,”
Little said. “We try to ensure that students are able to make connections in nearly everything that we do.”
The program’s positive statistics and aspects resonate through the members and students of the program.
“It’s a great program,” Jarrod St. Louis, sophomore computer science major, said. “They have good intentions and they are making a lot of progress when it comes to membership and freshmen retention.”
St. Louis’ student mentor and professional mentors are Joseph Coleman and Gita Phelps, information systems and computer science professor.
“Both my mentors are computer science majors so whenever I have any problems with school or I need advice on how to manage my classes they have always been there for me,” St. Louis said. “As far as life goes, the program has connected me with with a lot of straight-minded people that I can trust.”
As well as making the student feel comfortable at the university, SOAR connects and matches incoming minority students with student and professional mentors to help promote the overall success rates concerning transitions and academics while enrolled at GC.
“I like the program because a mentor is someone that I could learn a lot from, not just from his experiences at GC but also from his experiences from life,” D.J. Metz, a freshman undecided major, said. “I feel that we face many of the same challenges in life, and when I go to ask him a question or for advice he will be able to answer from a first-hand experience.”
Students are encouraged to schedule an advising session with the SOAR coordinator prior to registration each semester.
For more information regarding details, applications or advising sessions for the SOAR program, visit The Office Of Institutional Equity and Diversity, located at the Maxwell Student Union, Suite 131, or by telephone at 478-445-4233.