Mentors Make a Difference At Tech - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/28/04

Mentors Make a Difference At Tech

Come Monday, thousands of new students will begin classes at Texas Tech. For many this is their first time away from home, leaving friends, family and all that is familiar behind. This is where the faculty and staff at Texas Tech come into the picture.

Honesty, kindness and trust are certain characteristics that everyone seeks in a friend, but at Mentor Tech, it's more.

"Mentor Tech is like an organization we have here at Tech where we have mostly freshmen who come in or transfer students who come in and they need somebody they can talk to besides their peers," says Rion Laryea, a sophomore at Texas Tech.

And who better than someone who has experienced college life before?

"I remember back when I started at college. I was very overwhelmed by everything so I thought that I would help someone along that might be experiencing some of the things I did as a freshmen, says Grace Garza, a mentor.

The whole idea behind the program is for the mentor to assist the student in their academic, cultural and social adjustments in their first year at Tech.

"He changed my whole college experience," says Laryea.

Ryan Laryea's mentor gave him the support he needed to survive his freshmen year.

I can call him when I need him, if sometimes I was low on money and I needed something to eat, he'd take me out to eat.

Rosabel, a freshmen at Tech says that her mentor already reminds her of home.

"She looks like someone I'll get along with, she reminds me of my mother somewhat," says Rosabel, and incoming freshmen.

And helping Rosabel begin coping with college life is at the top of Grace's list.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to know Rosabel," says Garza.

Mentor Tech was designed in 2002 to assist students from underrepresented groups. The numbers show what a success the program has been. Eighty-seven percent of the students from the pilot year returned to Tech in the fall of 2003.

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