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AAUW Mentoring Program Offers Guidance to Atlantic Cape Students

May 25, 2012

Atlantic Cape Community College and the Cape May County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have partnered to provide guidance to students taking remedial courses at Atlantic Cape’s Cape May County Campus.

“National research documents how important having a mentor in your academic life is to student success,” Dr. Patricia Gentile, dean of continuing education, resource development and Cape May County Campus operations, said.

Beginning in the fall 2010 semester, students enrolled in Atlantic Cape’s Human Potential courses met with AAUW volunteers twice a month for one-on-one mentoring, group activities, speakers, workshops, training and development.

“Our role was to provide encouragement and occasionally information regarding careers, transportation and part-time jobs that might enhance students’ future career opportunities,” said AAUW mentor Claire Nagel of North Cape May.   

Atlantic Cape student Courtney Krych, 20, of Cape May Court House, was one of Nagel’s mentees and said the program helped her alleviate her tendency to procrastinate.

“We met in the student lounge to talk and it cheered me up,” Krych said.

Krych is pursuing her associate degree in art and would like to work toward a career as a photographer or an elementary education art teacher.

“Some of the things I learned were to stay focused, not to give up, to be goal-orientated and to have more than one goal,” Krych said.

In addition to listening, mentors shared their own stories about overcoming hardships, and they encouraged students to take advantage of college resources, like tutoring.

“I was inspired by these young people who are often working full time, trying to overcome educational deficits, finding transportation to the campus and sometimes also raising children,” Nagel said.

“What the AAUW volunteers have been doing is not only a model program, but they are making a huge difference for our students and community. We are very grateful for their commitment, energy and compassion,” Gentile said.

AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

Tammy DeFranco, assistant director of CMCC and Worthington Atlantic City Campus Student Services, has been the point person with AAUW mentors and student mentees. Atlantic Cape is currently updating the program to provide even more opportunities for student success.