Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA— Janice Redding knows that navigating your way around a new campus, making friends and deciding on a major can be overwhelming during your first year at Georgia State University.
As one of 33 Ambassadors who will serve as mentors in GSU’s Freshmen Learning Communities, Redding, a junior early childhood education major, hopes to make that high school to college transition a little easier.
“I have the opportunity to make a difference within the GSU community by not only inspiring first-year students, but by setting an example of a student leader,” Redding said. “The main reason I love serving as a mentor is because I create an open and comfortable environment for my mentees to ask me any questions concerning majors, student involvement, campus jobs and volunteering.”
|Junior Janice Redding is one of 33 Ambassadors who this fall will serve as mentors in GSU’s Freshmen Learning Communities.|
GSU’s Freshmen Learning Communities, or FLCs, offer first-year students the opportunity to form small communities by taking core courses based on a common theme.
For instance, Tyshawna Cook is a senior exercise science major and aspiring physical therapist who participated in the Health and Sciences FLC as a freshman.
“I enjoyed my FLC because not only was I a little nervous when I came to college, but I had just moved to Atlanta and I’m a first generation college student,” Cook said. “It was, kind of, a starting foundation for me to be in a class with 24 other students who were going to be in the same classes as me. It provided me instant study groups and instant resources.”
Although GSU piloted the Ambassador Program last year, this fall will be the first time the Office of Undergraduate Studies will provide ambassadors for all FLC students.
Twelve of the ambassadors started during summer Incept orientations to help recruit students for FLCs, share their experiences, answer questions and help students register for classes.
Wayne Brathwaite, a nursing major at GSU, hoped to encourage students wanting to go into the field of nursing. Brathwaite also participates in the student organization Nursing Students at Georgia State, and works as a supplemental instructor to help students taking challenging classes, such microbiology, human anatomy and chemistry.
“Nursing is one of the hardest majors to get accepted to at this school. We are competing with students all around Georgia and we want to help explain the severity of their classes,” Brathwaite said.
Emmanuel Amosu, a senior majoring in accounting, says he wants to stress to students that their environment is key. “You want to surround yourself with like-minded people and people that are going somewhere,” Amosu said.
Nia Haydel, assistant director of First-Year Programs, said the ambassadors are critical to the FLC Program, which students agree has helped them have higher first-year grade point averages, become more active on campus and have higher graduation rates than non-FLC freshmen.
“They provide a student perspective on the FLC experience,” Haydel said. “The answers offered by the Ambassadors are accepted more easily because the Ambassadors have lived the experience and they are seen as peers. Ambassadors assist us in communicating to students and their parents that everything will be fine and that there are individuals and departments here to support the first-year students.”
Aug. 8, 2011