The following are testimonials from former staff members of the Mentoring for Success Program. The program was formerly known as the Steps Toward Exhibiting Mastery Program. References to the former name will be found in older testimonials.
"I have enjoyed working for Mentoring for Success Program and being apart of your team. It has been an amazing experience and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. This job has taught me skills that will be extremely helpful going forward not only professionally, but overall. It has not always been easy, but this job has made me aware of my ability to always continue and put in hard work. I have been a part of great events, met great people, and learned so much from every moment that I would not done without this opportunity. Thank you so much for taking a chance on me and allowing me to be a part of such a great program. I am glad to have had you as a boss. You are such a strong boss and know how to keep a program running. I know that this program will continue to go far and help so many students. Thank you for always being around, and never giving up on your employees, it was great working for you."
– Nautika Tyler, peer mentor, 2018-19
"I am very thankful for having the opportunity to work for the Mentoring for Success Program for the last year and a half. I have learned so many new things that I can take into my daily life and into the workplace. From learning more about diversity and culture to gaining communication skills, the program has helped me grow in numerous ways and I have enjoyed my time here. I have met very driven and hardworking individuals within the Mentoring for Success team that have pushed me to become a better employee. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities this program has given me."
– Magali Carrillo, peer mentor, 2018-19
"It has been my honor and privilege to have been able to work for the Mentoring for Success Program. Throughout the past year and a half this program has helped me grow in infinite ways. Working for this program allowed me to meet some of the most incredible, hard-working, driven people I have ever met in my life. Although I was a peer mentor and a program assistant I often found myself being mentored my by co-workers and peers. Working closely with the program participants and staff, I learned how to be a more confident individual, a leader who is receptive and understands the needs of others, and a positive role model for myself and all of those who may be watching. The ways the Mentoring for Success Program has built me to be the person I am today is limitless. All I can say is thank you to each and every mentee, participant, co-worker, and peer I have gotten to meet along the way. Each of you have helped me become a better and stronger person for the future and for that, I will forever be indebted to you!"
– Marilyn Laski, peer mentor, 2018; program assistant, 2018-19
"I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for the Mentoring for Success Program throughout my college career. This program has helped me in infinite ways, but especially with shaping me into the person I am today! The atmosphere has always been welcoming and the staff I was able to work alongside are some of the most dedicated and wonderful people I have had the privilege of meeting. The Mentoring for Success Program is much more than “just a job.” I have learned so many new things about different cultures, ways of thinking, and how to become a better leader. I hope that I have touched the lives of my co-workers and the program participants in some way, because I know they have touched mine! I am also thankful to have worked with the program director, Vun, who has been so helpful, knowledgeable, and caring throughout my time here. I will cherish and be forever thankful for the experiences I was able to have through the Mentoring for Success Program!"
– Domenica DeMeyere, peer mentor, 2016-17; program assistant, 2017-19
"Working for Mentoring for Success had its challenges, but it was so worth it! Not only was I provided with the opportunity to empower students, but I was provided with an opportunity to learn. I learned what students truly needed and the importance of culture and relationships in education. I also learned the importance of development and awareness. The program pushed me to further develop my professionalism, cultural humility, communication skills, time management skills, and other other administrative skills."
– Ashlee Lambert, peer mentor, 2018-19
"Working for the Mentoring for Success Program has been a great experience for me. Working with this program has taught me more about communication, time management, and professional etiquette than any other job position I have held. All of the skills I have acquired while working for this program will be applicable to future jobs, in addition to my everyday life. Plus, I was able to work alongside of some incredible people who value helping others, just as I do. Whether you become a peer mentor, group leader, office assistant, program assistant, or supervisor, you will find that there is something you can learn from every person, including your mentees. Working for this program will make a positive impact your life, but more importantly, it will impact the lives of students whom you will guide throughout the year. "
– Reeta Chandler, group leader, 2018-19
"Working for the Mentoring for Success program was definitely a learning experience, and I’ll take that experience with me throughout the rest of my college career and beyond. Being able to bond with the participants and see how they progressed as they grew not just academically, but personally, was incredibly rewarding. Everybody at the program works together to ensure that things run smoothly, and to be a part of that team is a very special and unique opportunity."
– Megan Bossio, group leader, 2018-19
"My time here at the Mentoring for Success Program has been a wonderful, creative, and fun experience. I have learned how to build networks and socialize with multiple faculty and students, which has led me to many opportunities in life. This program has given me a community in which I could succeed as a student and as a person. I am forever grateful to have accepted the opportunity to work for the Mentoring for Success Program."
– Bionca Stewart, group leader, 2017-18; peer mentor, 2018-19
"It has been an absolute pleasure to work for the Mentoring for Success Program and I enjoyed every day of my work being in a motivating work environment and around a group of amazing individuals. For over a year I was employed with the program, I have learned and grown significantly from the program director, my co-workers, and opportunities the program provided. I have become the person I am today because of the rewarding experience I gained from the Mentoring for Success Program."
– Zhencong (Zack) Zhuo, budget analyst, 2017-18
"Thank you for the time I have been employed with the Mentoring for Success Program. I was able to gain knowledge on the calendar, time sheets, and emailing. I enjoyed the various staff development events that I went to. Most importantly, I enjoyed the help, support, and patience from all the staff members. I thank everyone for assisting me during this brief time with the program, and in the areas that I was able to gleam knowledge in emails, time sheets, and calendar usage. I have already started to institute them in other aspects of my life. I want to give a special shout out to Marilyn for her patience when I was grumpy and frustrated because of the circumstances. Although I am leaving, I will recommend other people to this program. My only regret was that I was not as instrumental as I wanted to be for the DSS. C'est la vie."
– Denise Davis, group leader, 2018
"Working with Mentoring for Success as a graduate intern was sincerely an enriching experience that enabled me to put in practice the theories I learned in my study program. I learned about different positions in the program like peer mentor, group leader, office assistant, program assistant, and budget analyst. For the first time I was able to evaluate a program. I got to review policies and make suggestions. I learned administrative work, communicating with participants and staff, and basics about budgeting. I think Mentoring for Success provides a great opportunity for student employees to learn about themselves and develop professional, academic, and leadership skills."
– Arezo Sediqi, graduate intern, 2018
"Joining the Mentoring for Success Program might’ve been one of the best decisions I ever took in college. I was a student that overcame a lot of struggle on my own and so my goal was for my mentees to not have to face their struggles by themselves as I did. I was able to accomplish that and much more. My time in the program has allowed me to build life-long relationships with mentees, fellow co-workers, and professional staff alike. The program has helped me develop as a leader and without a doubt, I will be able to apply the skills I’ve learned here in the professional world. I am forever grateful for the experience here at the Mentoring for Success Program. It has been an experience I’ll forever cherish and remember."
– Marcos Santiago, peer mentor, 2016-18
"Working for Mentoring for Success has truly been a rewarding experience! I had the opportunity to build a sense of community with my coworkers and other supervisors, advance my leadership skills, and enhance my interpersonal skills. Our positions as employees of Mentoring for Success allows for flexibility, which means we do not regularly have opportunities to see each other. However, our staff meetings assist in building a sense of unity and cohesion with program staff! I am beyond thankful to have been a part of the Mentoring for Success team!"
– Annette Perales, peer mentor, 2017; senior peer mentor, 2018
"Being a part of the Mentoring for Success Program was such a valuable experience. I learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses and really grew as a person. I have met so many wonderful, passionate, and smart individuals here because the program's mission and values attract and motivate truly remarkable people. Working for the Mentoring for Success Program challenged me in ways that will indelibly benefit me in the future and I am indebted to the many I have worked with that had supported me during my time here."
– Gina Krzebiot, office assistant, 2016-17; program assistant, 2018
"Although I only worked for Mentoring for Success for a short time, I believe I learned many things that I was able to apply to both my professional, academic, and personal life. All the while, I believe I was able to positively influence the students we serve. Professionally, Mentoring for Success taught me better organization skills and helped me maintain a schedule. Academically, it taught me (and the students we mentor) how to make use of tools and study skills so they will be effective. On a personal level, it taught me patience and how to work towards a goal from a different approach. I believe this to be the most important lesson from Mentoring for Success, as it is a lesson that can apply to many different aspects of problems reached in life, not just physical tasks. I am so grateful for the time I experienced in this program and do believe it has contributed to many students’ lives, including my own."
– Avia Lowe, group leader, 2018
"I am so glad that I came to the Mentoring for Success program my sophomore year of college. The Mentoring for Success program helped me become the person I am today! Being a part of the program helped me not only gain skills that I can take with me as a professional, but also helped me develop personally. Within the program I had the privilege to learn about so many different cultures, in ways I probably never would have without. I gained valuable friendships with my coworkers as they pushed me to succeed in college. I also am so grateful for the leadership and mentorship that Vun provided me with. She really pushed me to be the best person I could be, and I wouldn't be where I am today without her."
– Emily Swanson, office assistant, 2014-15; program assistant, 2015-18
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working for the Mentoring for Success Program. Through this job I was able to develop skills that I will use in the future in both my personal and professional pursuits. At this program your fellow employees and supervisors will become friends and supporters of your academic and professional pursuits. While working with this program you have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge on diversity and become a well-rounded individual ready to enter professional life after graduation. Being employed in this program is beneficial to all students looking for an opportunity to work with and help others, and further develop professional skills themselves; it is truly a unique employment opportunity on campus."
– Elsie Bush, office assistant, 2016-17; peer mentor, 2017
"When I started to work as a peer mentor, I never thought that I would gain this much experience. Working for the Mentoring for Success Program had taught me several things personally and professionally. It was such an honor to be able to support other students. Even tough you won't see your co-workers that much, everybody is always welcoming and willing to help through the messaging board that we all shared. This was a great working experience and opportunity for any college student to work with a very diverse and wonderful group of students. Finally, this job will lead to lifelong relationship with your mentees under the guidance of a very dedicated program director who will mentor you with advices and help you grow professionally."
– Silmang Sene, senior peer mentor, 2014-17
"Every individual in the program goes out of their respected responsibilities to better help all those who need an extra push regardless of being mentors or mentees, and I honesty think that says a lot about this program. After all, the Mentoring for Success Program is not just another one-hour tutoring program but an enriching experience that those who are part of it will remember for the rest of their lives. I would like to thank the program for the opportunity it provided me; even right now words cannot express the knowledge I have gained from my time in the program."
– Ali Akbar Mohsini, peer mentor, 2016-17
"If you would like to get valuable working experiences as a student employee, Mentoring for Success Program is perfect for you to work at. I was the budget analyst in this program and mentored a couple of participants as well. Working with the program director and co-workers was a great pleasure. They are all dedicated to helping participants, encouraging co-workers, and making a better program. I learned a lot from my director and co-workers, both professionally and personally. I will miss all the wonderful times in Mentoring for Success Program."
– Li Cheng, budget analyst, 2015-17
"I really enjoyed my time working for Mentoring for Success. I was able to gain social, administrative, and professional skills that I had not previously had the opportunity to develop as thoroughly. I learned a lot from my coworkers, and I am grateful for the time I spent as a peer mentor. The program does wonderful things for their students, and the services offered are incredibly helpful to any college student. "
– Rachel Callaly, peer mentor, 2015-16
"Working with the Mentoring for Success Program has helped me grow professionally and personally, and it has been such a privilege being a part of this wonderful program. My co-workers are very dedicated to helping students, and my experiences here have been one of the best. The time spent working for the program has helped me become more culturally aware, and helped strengthen my communication skills, critical thinking skills, and leadership skills. As a TAC member, I was given the opportunity to challenge myself, to go above and beyond, and to constantly push myself to improve and be better. I can confidently say that I have grown as a person thanks to my experiences here and I will forever be thankful for all the learning opportunities, and friendships I have gained!"
– Li Teng Voon, training and advising committee co-chair, 2014-16
"I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work for Mentoring for Success. I have grown leaps and bounds as an individual from working with a diverse group of students and staff members. Working for this program is not like an average campus job. I was challenged to constantly improve my skills because I had a big responsibility to uphold. I had the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and make a larger impact by becoming a Training Advisory Committee member. I am forever thankful to the Mentoring for Success Program because it has prepared me to be more successful in my life."
– Lawrence Cuneaz, training and advising committee member, 2014-16
"This is a wonderful and enriching program to work for. I have spent two years on the Mentoring for Success team and have become a more well-rounded employee and student. Being able to tutor and mentor my students in Spanish solidified my desire to become a professor."
– Milan Bird, peer mentor, 2014-16
"My time working for Mentoring for Success Program was wonderful. Not only was I able to work with amazing people who challenged me to reach my full potential, I was able to make an impact in the life of my students. One of the many rewarding things for me was seeing the reaction on my students' faces when they finally made the connections on grammar points. I felt like I had made a positive impact on their studies. Moreover, I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned, not only as a mentor, but as person in a professional atmosphere. Mentoring for Success has given me many tools and trained me on how to be a professional and effective employee. I will use my experiences here as I move on to the JET program in Japan. I will be an assistant language teacher (ALT) at a junior high school. I hope my time at Mentoring for Success will help me in my future."
– Logan Scott, peer mentor, 2014-16
"I have had a wonderful experience working with the Mentoring for Success Program. I learned a lot about cultural differences, how to better help our mentees, all the different resources that are available for students as well as employees. This program helped me learn how to interact with other people that may have trouble learning, or have different ways of learning subjects that differ from my own. I loved that every interaction with my mentee and with the Mentoring for Success staff was positive and supportive. I am very lucky to have had this experience and I know that I will take my learning experiences with me to help me grow and continue to help others find their way."
– Hana Mitchell, peer mentor, 2015
"I have had a memorable experience with the Mentoring for Success Program as a peer mentor. This is really a wonderful opportunity for students as it prepares them to face real world challenges. This program not only taught me how to balance work and study but also enabled me to improve time management and be flexible. I received a constant support from program staff who helped me to deliver my job effectively. Overall, it was great experience. I am really fortunate to be part of such a nice program and work with amazing people."
– Praveen Bhat, peer mentor, 2015
"I have had a wonderful experience working as a program assistant for the Mentoring for Success Program in the last year. The program helped me learn that motivation, dedication, and hard work can really help us develop professionally and personally. Specifically, the encouragement and the subsequent reward for working dedicatedly for this program helped me develop many important communication skills and workings skills within the last year. I think this job was more than just a job for me because it felt like I was actually working for myself while benefiting others. I got to take on projects, guide and assist peer mentors, work closely with my supervisor, and become a better leader. Therefore, I am glad to say that I enjoyed working for the Mentoring for Success Program and I enjoyed working with my humble co-workers during the last year."
– Saria Saleem, program assistant, 2014-15
"Working with the Mentoring for Success Program has been the most rewarding experience as an undergraduate at WMU. When I first began working with the program I immediately felt connected with the staff and I have developed a strong work ethic from their constant support and advice. My interpersonal skills and academic knowledge have have also been strengthened from mentoring students since their hard work inspired me to do the best that I can do and more. So working with this program has not only improved my success as an individual but the students' and staff's success as well."
– Maria Kelley, training and advising committee co-chair, 2014-15
"Working for Mentoring for Success Program this past year has been an enriching experience for me both personally and professionally. From a personal standpoint, I came to Kalamazoo and Western knowing no one and nothing about the university. This program took me out of my comfort zone and helped me dive right into the Western community. From this job, I learned much more about the University and resources at my disposal than I ever would have before. I also got to know a bunch of amazing coworkers who helped me feel more connected to the community and less like a “fish out of water” in the large university setting which I was unfamiliar with. Professionally, this job and past year has taught me several things. Firstly it taught me to pay attention to the details. I am a very “big picture” oriented person, but this job taught me to slow down and look at the little details that go into performing a job well. It also taught me more in time management skills as I learned how to balance work, school, and an internship for the first time. And lastly, I think this job helped me become more proficient in my area of study because I had to know the material so well to be able to bestow my wisdom to the students I got to work with."
– Katie Potts, peer mentor, 2014-15
“I have had a great time working for the Mentoring for Success Program. I have noticed a few big changes about myself, i.e., my time management skills, communication skills, documentation skills, etc. have gotten much better. I also realized the importance of teamwork while working here. Everyone has provided his or her best to assist me in my professional development as a peer mentor. Although we keep our working environment professional, we never forget to ease it up with interesting topics on the forum or with end-of-semester gatherings’ activities. I also love the fact that I can use my skills to assist other students in need. It is wonderful to see my students achieve their goals and be satisfied with my service. Thank you so much for giving me a chance to be a part of something great!”
– Vy Phan, peer mentor, 2014-15
"Mentoring for Success Program gave me an opportunity to make a difference by being a peer mentor. Through meetings with different students, peer mentors go beyond tutoring and also be a role model to these students. I also truly appreciate the personal and professional development offered to its student employees, which prepares us to the “real world” jobs. I am lucky to be part of this program and to meet and learn from my amazing colleagues."
– Maria Cristina Bernardo Javeloza (Tina Javeloza), peer mentor, 2014-15
"My time with the Mentoring for Success program was a truly enjoyable and rich experience. My skill set has drastically grown since beginning here and has prepared me for future career endeavors. It was also a rewarding time in which I was able to learn about and appreciate various different cultures from my own. I owe all of this to the Mentoring for Success Program and do not believe that I would be as confident in my abilities without it. Thank you to everyone involved in this program and a special thank you to Vun, for everything. You are all my friends and I will never forget my time here."
– Neil Jansen, office assistant, 2014-15
"I am very appreciative to have been able to work with STEM as a peer mentor; the job is extremely rewarding and I enjoyed every aspect of it. Everyone involved in the program is supportive and caring. I have learned a great amount from my students and from the job. It was personally and professionally rewarding, and it has allowed me to develop and expand on many assets and skills that are extremely valuable in any career choice. I cannot thank you all enough."
– Richa Shah, peer mentor, 2014
"My three years with the Mentoring for Success Program were terrific. I evolved personally and professionally as I found myself constantly learning from my passionate coworkers, dedicated supervisors, and amazing students. Working alongside other fellow mentors felt like being surrounded with a family of individuals enthusiastic about making a difference in the local community and the world at large through mentorship and active leadership. The positive energy was extremely contagious and inspiring. I am thankful for such an exceptional opportunity; it was truly a rewarding experience."
– David Ajoku, peer mentor, 2013-16
"My time at the Mentoring for Success Program has been rich in opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Serving as both a peer mentor and senior program assistant has been very rewarding. I have had the chance to work with students to help them to reach their academic goals, as well as work as a supervisor and mentor to the staff of the program. I have learned so much from the people I have mentored and worked with and the knowledge gained here cannot be measured. The Mentoring for Success Program is a diverse environment and a place where I was able to further develop skills in administrative tasks, organization, communication, grant reporting, and many others! Working for this program was a great learning experience!"
– Arielle Duinkerken, senior program assistant, 2013-14
"My internship at the Mentoring for Success Program was educative and inspiring. I got to work among a culturally diverse crew and on different tasks including supervising, editing, event planning, organizing, and reporting. All of these helped me to improve on my problem-solving, communication, and leaderships skills which I in turn was able to apply in my work. It was a really good experience."
– Seseer Mou, program intern, 2013-14
"I truly enjoyed my time at STEM. I had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students. It was great to mentor these students because I was able to watch them grow academically, socially, and professionally. I am also grateful for what STEM has done for me personally. I have become a better organized and a more confident person. Thank you STEM!"
– Robyn Hoffenblum, peer mentor, 2013-14
"Working in STEM has been one of the best experiences in my life. It introduced me the first steps before entering professional life and career after I graduated. I truly enjoyed working with all the friendly and supportive staff. Being able to help students in need brought great joy and satisfaction to me. STEM has molded me into a very solid individual. I realized my communication and people skills through meeting with students and staff, my presentation skills through presentations during staff meetings, organizational skills through student database and other STEM-related documentation, and many other skills you can't attain in a traditional classroom setting. Regardless of the numerous tasks delegated to a peer mentor, I enjoyed every bit of it and I thought that everything held an important meaning."
– Clarein Delfia Sedasus, peer mentor, 2013-14
"Working at STEM as a peer mentor has allowed me to improve my ability to work one-on-one with students. Since my career goals involve teaching it was a great opportunity to grow in what will soon become a critical skill. Because you work with students to set a mentoring schedule the job was very flexible. It allowed me to work around my class schedule in a way that isn't always possible with other campus jobs. Lastly, working at STEM was a uniquely rewarding job. You are able to help a students who might be struggling in a course become more confident in their academic abilities and watch them succeed."
– Caleb Molstad, peer mentor, 2013-14
"Being a peer mentor has helped me shift from a tutoring to a mentoring role, a concept I was unfamiliar with. Seeing the triumph of mentees several semesters after mentoring them has given me a sense of accomplishment. After transitioning into the position of a TAC member and co-chair, I have gained the confidence necessary to lead other peer mentors and thus find the leader in me. These are skills I will undoubtedly need in the future. I owe all this to the Mentoring for Success Program."
– Andreas Quainoo, training and advising committee co-chair, 2012-14
"Serving as a peer mentor for numerous students who need help with various subjects is extremely rewarding. As someone who was used to tutoring students in elementary, middle, and high school, mentoring (as well as tutoring) students at the college level has only broadened my perspective even more. I was able to not only tutor material to wonderful individuals at WMU, but also mentor them in their academic and personal lives. In addition to serving as a peer mentor, serving as a TAC member in the STEM Program has been absolutely wonderful. This gave me a chance to work more closely with some of the other peer mentors in the STEM Program, by assuming a supervisory role. I have gained so many skills and learned so many lessons while working in the STEM Program here at WMU. Honestly, there are so many things that I have gained here, that you definitely would not be able to gain anywhere else on campus. I want to thank all of my students, coworkers, and Vun, for making this such a wonderful experience. I will never forget my place here."
– Mirabelle Lindquist, training and advising committee member, 2012-14
"I am so grateful for my time and experience at STEM. Peer mentoring has increased my relationship building and communication skills tremendously. I have enjoyed helping students out with academics, as well as being there as a mentor for them. Being a program assistant has helped me develop professional skills that will be useful in my future career. I have also grown from the experience by being immersed in a diverse environment."
– Brooke Sherman, senior program assistant, 2012-13
"STEM was my first stepping stone as an academic instructor. Working as a peer mentor, I had the opportunity to do one-on-one mentoring with individuals of diverse backgrounds exercising a series of different teaching techniques, which provided me with a great deal of insight on the positive effects of mentoring in learning, and that is something I benefited from in the communication courses I taught. As a program assistant, I was privileged to work in a multicultural setting where I learned many lessons acting as administrative support. There is a before and an after STEM in my career. Thanks to this experience, I am a more qualified and empowered professional."
– Clara Rodriguez, program assistant, 2012-13
"STEM taught me the joy of mentoring and teaching at the same time. Not only that, but I also experienced what a real job is like through STEM. I came to be able to organize, plan, and communicate better than before I got hired. I really appreciate STEM and what they taught me. Go STEM!
– Eri Ohno, peer mentor, 2012-13
"I joined Mentoring for Success as a peer mentor since my first semester at WMU. My progression toward TAC member and co-chair has provided an excellent foreshadowing of my future career as a professional and leader. Nurturing fellow WMU students toward success is one of the most rewarding experiences during my time here. Along my journey, I have grown tremendously as an individual, and I owe it all to the amazing program staff and participants of Mentoring for Success. I will always look back and cherish my experience here."
– Jin Yu Woo, training and advising committee co-chair, 2011-14
"Valuable professional, organizational, and communication skills; indispensable experience and reward. All this and more are the outcome of working for the STEM Program. Becoming a peer mentor was my first non-manual labor position, and a better one I could not have received. Peer mentoring is rewarding in many ways, but perhaps the best reward is seeing students without hope in their studies succeed and gain a new confidence in themselves and achieve mastery with the help of the STEM Program. I strongly believe that my experience at the STEM Program has assisted me in achieving my latest goal of getting accepted into medical school due to both professional and organizational skills learned and as a resume enhancer. I cannot recommend a better experience than becoming a STEM Program peer mentor."
– Sam Vergunst, training and advising committee co-chair, 2011-13
"Working for the Mentoring for Success Program has been a great experience. It has been a great experience because of the type of work we do. I find great joy in helping students at Western, especially the students from our target population. We want the participants in our program to not only excel on their classes but in college life in general, and hopefully to apply all they have learned to their future careers as well. I would definitely recommend students at WMU to apply to work for the program if they would like to enrich their professional careers and work for a program where ethics and the well-being of the students are the first priorities."
– Lucía Álvarez Soto, peer mentor, 2010-12; program assistant, 2014-15
"Working for STEM was a great experience. I got to meet many people from many different backgrounds, students and mentors alike. Getting to mentor the students was great because it helped me to hone my education skills along with helping them to succeed in their chosen fields. Watching the learn and grow as students and as professionals always brought a smile to my face. Working for STEM also helped me to grow professionally, especially in the importance of record keeping, organization, and leadership. STEM definitely helped to prepare me to leave college and enter the professional world."
– Christine Noack, peer mentor, 2010-11; training and advising committee co-chair, 2012-13
"STEM provided me with my first job ever! And it’s with great pride that I say STEM has taught me how to be an independent thinker and a proactive student. Since I started working here, I was immediately welcomed and treated like I’ve been one of them since forever. My director and coworkers were always supportive and fun. In the office, I got the opportunity to work with wonderful people and learn about the program internally. STEM has provided me with experiences and opportunities that I can use in the real world and I just can’t put words on how grateful I am to be able to say that I once was a STEM peer mentor and budget analyst, that I got the opportunity to pass on my knowledge, and that I made a difference around the WMU campus through STEM."
– Denisse Mayers, budget analyst, 2010-13
"I will never forget that I obtained my first real job at STEM. With all the guidance and training I received from my wonderful colleagues and supervisor, I am confident that I will be able to make the transition from student employee to employee seamlessly. I will forever attribute my success as an individual, professionally and personally, to my jobs as peer mentor and student program assistant. Thank you, STEM!"
– Jolene Khor, student program assistant, 2010-12
"My experience at STEM has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Working here not only made me grow personally but professionally as well. The leadership skills I developed will definitely help me throughout my career. Working with so many different people from different backgrounds has broadened my horizons. I will always be proud to say that I was once part of this wonderful STEM family."
– Shalinee Koonjal, senior student program assistant, 2009-12
"The STEM Program provided me with an opportunity to assist those who are having difficulties in academia. Working with STEM is indeed a very enriching one as learning works surprisingly both ways. Everyone is friendly at STEM and the experience is definitely essential for future career development!"
– Mohammed Hariz bin Mohammed Shazalli, peer mentor, 2012
"STEM has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I am so grateful for my time with STEM. Being a mentor has helped me grow as an individual, as well as helped my professional growth. I have learned so much from my students, and have been inspired by many. I am so grateful working alongside other aspiring students, and working with students that really care about their education. I will truly miss STEM, and wish everyone still there all the best!"
– Katrina Snyder, training and advising committee member, 2011-12
"It was such a privilege for me to be able to work at STEM. STEM is the place where peer mentors and students can grow knowledge together. I learned so much from my hardworking students and had great time working with all people I met at STEM. Being a peer mentor is definitely one of the most rewarding experience I had at WMU."
– Hikaru Kondo, peer mentor, 2011-12
"...I am truly grateful for my opportunity to work for STEM as both a peer mentor and training and advising committee liaison. It was a great learning experience, where I was able to gain new insights from not only the director and other peer mentors, but also from the students that I worked with. I feel the motto of the STEM program should be 'studying has never been more rewarding!' I say this because not only are you able to refresh your own memory and get the satisfaction of helping students get through their classes, you also get paid for it. As I leave STEM in pursuit of a career as a professional airline pilot, I take with me values, skills, experience, knowledge, and last but certainly not least, friendships that will last a lifetime."
– Joash Atkinson, training and advising committee member, 2010-12
"I cannot thank the STEM Program and its wonderful employees enough for their contribution to my personal and professional growth. In my two years here, I have had the opportunity to develop friendships, skills, and core values that I will take with me through the rest of my life and career."
– Jason Woo, training and advising committee member, 2010-12
"I worked for STEM for about five semesters during which I served as a mentor and later also as a liaison (go-to guy for mentors). Not only is working for STEM one of the most interesting and fun jobs on campus, but also the things I have learned at STEM are of considerable value in a future business and marketing career. Experiences range from stimulating students, dealing with different cultural backgrounds, brushing up on classes and subjects I had long forgotten (you learn the most when you explain it to others), good habits to keep a clear agenda and maintain smooth communication, and managing skills. All in all I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work for STEM and I would (and already did) recommend it to anybody who is interested."
– Martijn Heijboer, training and advising committee member, 2010-12
"I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you at STEM for all of the opportunities and support you have given me. The past few years have been a fantastic and wonderful experience, and I owe it all to being surrounded by such incredible people. I am extremely grateful for the memories at STEM and I look forward to its positive impact on all future employees as it did on me."
– Wei Jian Chiu, training and advising committee co-chair, 2010-12
"I am very grateful [to] this program and [to the director] for the opportunity of letting me be a peer mentor. I learned a lot of things here, and I got a very good experience for my entire life."
– Cristian Veloz, peer mentor, 2010-12
"I would like to thank STEM for the opportunity. If it weren't for the STEM Program, I wouldn't have the opportunity to grow as an individual. It was indeed a great experience in STEM. Learning to be a good leader while providing and conveying knowledge to students and also realizing that to be a leader is never an easy job and that as a leader, you can't satisfy everybody. No doubt these values will be a great asset for my future career. Again, thank you so much for this awesome experience, STEM!"
– Kok Seong Foo, training and advising committee member, 2010-11
"The one thing I will never forget about working with STEM is that they taught me the value of being organized and managing my time well. These qualities helped me a great deal as a working student and when I left school to work full time. "
– Peter Lazaro, peer mentor, 2010-11
"I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to have worked in the STEM program for those several months. It was a personally and professionally enriching experience, and your hard-driving leadership was an essential component."
– Craig Douglas, peer mentor, 2010-11
"The STEM Program enabled me to explore my passion for helping students achieve academic success in a unique one-on-one setting. As a future provider of academic-related intervention services, I grew both professionally and personally in my role as a peer mentor and tutor while students were able to take advantage of my academic support."
– Johnisha Taylor, training and advising committee member, 2009-11
"STEM provided me with an invaluable work experience and allowed me to develop professionally through a diverse and challenging work environment. The organizational and managerial skills I learned here are applicable to any field and will be a great asset in my future career."
– Brittany Tovar, senior student program assistant, 2009-10
"STEM is a wonderful place to work. You have a competent, professional boss who is more than happy to help you with anything you need, you schedule your own tutoring times, and you get the opportunity to help people learn the skills they need to succeed in their college career."
– Nick Acker, peer mentor, 2009-10
"I feel that this job has impacted my life in many positive ways. I distribute my time more efficiently, plan ahead of time, and at the same time it supports my professional growth."
– Jean Imbert, budget analyst, 2009-10
"There's just one word I feel fully describes STEM. That word is 'family.' From the director to the student staff, everyone does his or her possible best to create and sustain an atmosphere that allows you to be you regardless of your background."
– Ugochukwu Njoku, peer mentor, 2009
"As part of a diverse group of tutors, in terms of study areas and nationalities, I am constantly learning from my colleagues about ways to help students learn, in addition to learning about their different customs and traditions."
– Janice Hiner, peer mentor, 2008-12; training and advising committee co-chair, 2008-11
"My job as a student program assistant is the second best thing in my life, exceeded only by my education at WMU."
– Ashley Martz, senior student program assistant, 2008-10 (2010 Student Employee of the Year)
"As an employee with the program, one must reinforce their skills in time management, professionalism, and working in a diverse environment. The lessons learned here are crucial for entering the workforce and cannot be learned from a textbook or lecture."
– Katie Walkowiak, training and advising committee member, 2008-10
"A lot of international students are motivated full-time scholars, since they came here from abroad to study. STEM is a wonderful place to give academically relevant and supportive work to Western Michigan University students. I think it may be the only such place for the international students."
– Milan Peterčák, training and advising committee member, 2008-09
"By working with this amazing program, I have found my true calling, student affairs. It has made me realize that I want to eventually end up back at a university, working with students."
– Kelly Kucharczyk, student program assistant, 2008-09
"The STEM tutor and peer mentor position is very flexible and I am able to schedule tutoring sessions around my class schedule. The tutoring sessions are also set up around campus, so they are easy and fast to get to."
– Isaí Almeida-Arrieta, peer mentor, 2008-09
"I feel that the STEM Program has a lot to offer to its tutors. The nature of the program allows tutors to work a very flexible schedule, which I found to be extremely helpful while attending to my own classes and homework… If our state wants to help its economy, it should stand behind programs that help educate first-generation college students. These students are our future and assisting them get their educations allows them to set an example—a precedence—for future generations of Michigan workers."
– Rudi Betzold, peer mentor, 2008-09
"Professors throughout the university have been highly appreciative of the program, and recommended students to enroll for assistance, as they have been unable to individually cater to the needs of each and every student."
– Meenu Sankar, budget analyst, 2008-09
"I have been teaching since I first began my graduate work, and, at the time that I became a STEM peer mentor and tutor, I was trying to decide my future career. Tutoring students from all educational backgrounds has helped me to make my decision to become a professor."
– Andrea Kryger, training and advising committee co-chair, 2007-10
"I took this job opportunity [with STEM] to learn a lot of new stuff, such as: culture, communication, and, sometimes, a few topics from the subjects I teach that I did not already know… Performing my best as a STEM tutor gave me confidence and an opportunity to develop very good communication skills. Even after I graduate from Western Michigan University, I will always look back at the program that built me."
– Purushothaman Boopathy Ethirajan, peer mentor, 2007-09
"Although there are other programs that offer free tutoring around campus, none of them offer the consistency, convenience, and personal attention that STEM offers. … Without state funding, the university would not be able to sustain this program and many student participants, student employees, and STEM staff members would be left without assistance or jobs."
– Nikolla Griffin, peer mentor, 2007-09
"STEM has the virtue of being the most flexible tutoring service on campus. … This highlights STEM’s unique efforts to be as student-based as possible. For myself, I consider STEM to be the most personally and professionally beneficial job I have ever held. … This teaching experience was a factor in my acceptance to me graduate program."
– Rebecca Makas, peer mentor, 2007-09
"Any place I go to or work at, the ability to work with others is one of the most important skills to have, and by working with the STEM Program, I have really gotten the chance to improve this skill."
– Rachel Salim, peer mentor, 2007-08