FAU Making a Difference Through Mentoring

Florida Atlantic University launches the Mentoring Project to offer students extra support.

Sue Graves, Ed. D., meets with freshman Mary-Elizabeth Estrada to talk about her classes. The two were paired as part of the Mentoring Project.

By kelsie weekes | 2/22/2016

Florida Atlantic University freshman Mary-Elizabeth Estrada struggles about what she plans to do with her exercise science major. Often seeking answers to questions about classes or potential career paths, she found herself looking for a mentor to offer her some guidance. Luckily for Estrada, the Mentoring Project was able to fulfill that search and led Estrada to Sue Graves Ed. D., who happens to know a thing or two about Estrada’s major. Graves is an associate professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Department at FAU.

The Mentoring Project is a new initiative that was created as a joint collaboration between the Division of Academic Affairs and the Division of Student Affairs at FAU. The goal is to develop a culture of mentoring across campus, and ultimately increase student engagement and awareness of academic support and campus resources. Launched in August 2015, the initiative already has exceeded expectations with 344 mentees and 202 mentors currently in the program.

“I got an email about the Mentoring Project and decided to do it,” Estrada said. “ I felt like it would guide me down a good path in college and in life. I’m already pretty involved on campus.”

Any current FAU faculty, staff, or graduate student is eligible to become a mentor. Typically paired with a freshman or transfer student, the mentor is matched with the mentee based on attributes submitted in a profile. Pairs meet in person about once a month, and talk about anything from roommate and relationship problems, to tutoring resources and time management.

“My favorite part is learning from Mary-Elizabeth and seeing if I can assist her with anything,” Graves said.

Estrada said she would recommend the program to other students.

“I always have a ton of questions for my mentor,” Estrada said. “She may not know the answer to everything, but she always knows someone who does know the answer.”

For more information about the Mentoring Project, visit fau.edu/mentoringproject.