A new mentoring program will pair Polk State faculty with members of the Eagles basketball team to help them succeed in college and in life.
"Substantial research shows that it is not where you go to college but how you go through college that matters when it comes to workplace engagement and current well-being," says Earl Brown, professor of English and speech communication at Polk State.
Brown, who coordinates the program, says, "We want to facilitate a process where we can help these young men become better students and better athletes, in that order."
At an initial meeting on Jan. 12, faculty members and student-athletes had a chance to get to know each other. Each student will pair with a faculty member who will serve as a mentor.
The program came about as a result of conversations between Vice President for Student Services Reggie Webb, Dean of Academic Affairs April Robinson, and Head Basketball Coach Brandon Giles.
"My staff and I pride ourselves on teaching guys that they're more than just basketball players," says Giles.
"I think the one-on-one relationship this program offers will help each athlete grow individually outside of basketball. It will let them see a different side of what being a student-athlete really means. I think it holds a great value in their growth process as young adults.
"In general, no matter their age, where they come from, or their career field, every successful person has one or two mentors that they can call on."
Senior Program Specialist John Fynn (right) visits with Jared Doughtery. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Brown agrees, saying a Gallup-Purdue University study confirms the value of a mentor.
"According to the research, a mentor can provide you with the support and encouragement that you need hold you accountable and encourage you to want to be a greater person. We hope this new mentoring program encourages these student-athletes to become better learners, better students, and better people."
Kareem Chever-Moore, a sophomore guard from Del Valle, Texas, looks forward to starting the mentoring program.
"I feel like the is going to be beneficial to the whole team," he says.
"I think it'll help us with classes and help us in life. It's going to lead us in directions we never thought would be possible, and I really appreciate the faculty members who are taking part in it."