Student Mentors Help High-Schoolers Envision College

Program Caps Off with Charity Project Designed to Encourage Family Reading

Apr. 20, 2012

A group of UT Dallas students has been for months mentoring high school teens and is now capping off the experience with a project painting bookshelves to donate to charity.

Student Mentors Help High-Schoolers

Student mentors from UT Dallas work with high school students to expose them to college life. Here, mentors met with the teens on campus during one of the program's events.

The 18 UT Dallas students in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences have worked with 58 sophomores from nearby Williams High School in Plano as part of a grant program funded by the Home Builders Institute (HBI) in Washington, D.C.

The students are painting bookshelves for a nonprofit organization that encourages and equips families to read to their children.

“This is a nice wrap-up to our project because our mentors and high-school mentees are working together on a community service project,” said Dr. Nadine Connell, an assistant professor of criminology and the program co-organizer. “For this project, there is a corollary between the number of books in a household and academic success, so we were pleased to participate.”

Nationally, the HBI program aims to match 5,000 youths with more than 1,600 industry mentors, from home-builders associations, business organizations and local communities. UT Dallas is the only university of the more than 30 participating sites across the country.

Dr. Nadine Connell

Dr. Nadine Connell is the program's co-organizer.

Since fall of 2011, UT Dallas students have met with the high-schoolers twice a month on projects and topics including writing, resume building and career exploration.

EPPS was awarded the grant based on its reputation and experience, said Dr. Sarah Maxwell, an assistant dean for undergraduate education and program co-organizer.

“Some of the mentors have similar backgrounds as those they have mentored, which helps them make a connection,” Maxwell said. “It has helped them embrace the possibilities of post-high school success.”

Mentors Sought

Students interested in participating in the mentor program for fall 2012 may contact Dr. Nadine Connell at nadine.connell@utdallas.edu, 972-883-4985.

The Home Builders Institute (HBI) in Washington D.C. initially awarded EPPS $67,000 to run the mentoring program, which is called HBI Construction - Coaching Opportunities to Reach Employment (C-CORE). That amount has since grown to more than $150,000.

“Our goal is to give the high school students an opportunity to think about career exploration and to get them acquainted with a college campus. Plus our college participants had a lot of fun,” Connell said. “We’re definitely continuing the program again next year.”


Media Contact: Katherine Morales, 972-883-4321, kmorales@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, 972-883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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