Started several years ago, the Honors Mentorship Program paired incoming Honors first-years with sophomores or juniors during the summer before their first year. With the help of current Honors junior Henry Zink, the program was redesigned for the 2018-2019 school year. This new Mentorship Program allows Honors first-years to enter into mentoring “families,” in which they join with students from each cohort within the Program, creating small groups rather than pairs.
A psychology major and music and theology double minor, Henry found his experience as a first-year in the Mentorship Program valuable. “I appreciated the opportunity to get to know an upperclassman and to pick his brain about both Honors-specific and general college topics,” he told me. However, as Henry completed his first few semesters within the Honors Program, he noticed that younger students were looking for more ways to foster community with older Honors students: “Many Honors students felt that they had more success forming connections with other upperclassmen who weren’t their mentors.” With this in mind, Henry started looking for ways to expand the Mentorship Program.
With funding from the Honors Program, Henry was able to attend the 2017 AJCU Honors Conference at Loyola New Orleans. There, he spoke with Honors students from other Jesuit schools about their student mentorship programs. Inspired by these conversations, Henry pitched the idea of redesigning the Rose Hill Honors’ Mentorship Program to the program director, Dr. Eve Keller. He believed that by placing students into mentor families, rather than pairs, they would be encouraged to stay more connected and spend more time together. Moreover, he hoped that involving Honors students from all grades would promote bonding across the Honors Program as a whole.
The new iteration of the Mentorship Program officially kicked off with the annual Mentorship Reception in September. At the event, Honors first-years were welcomed into the Honors community as they met their new mentor family and got to know the upperclassmen better. So far, Henry has received positive feedback about the program’s redesign: “It seems like people are excited about their mentees and the opportunity to be involved in a mentor family. I’m excited to see what happens in the next two years and beyond, as the program grows.”