Odyssey Peer Mentoring hosted two orientation meetings on each of the campuses with in the last couple weeks and had some very interesting speakers come out to support the program.
In addition to hearing from the organizations President, Monique Jones, and one co-Vice President, Keenan Woods-Scott, students on the Kennesaw Campus were also addressed by Dr. White, Vice Present of Student Affairs at Kennesaw State University.
After introducing and thanking Nicole Simmons for her contribution to Odyssey for her role as faculty advisor for the program, Dr. White asked a very interesting question of the students. She wanted to know how many of them were first-year students. A little over half of the room raised their hands and quickly learned that they were not the only new comers to the university. Dr. White declared that she too was in her first year at Kennesaw State, and commended students for making good choices by reaching out for mentorship. Also, attending was Dr. Bob Mattox, associate Vice President and Director of Student Success Services, and a KSU veteran of 26 years. Dr. White shared with students her appreciation for how Dr. Mattox’s experience at Kennesaw allowed him to function as a mentor for her. The benefits of mentorship, she added, leads to students continuing their degree and eventually graduating.
In addition to the many benefits of mentorship, Dr. White talked about doing new things at Kennesaw State University, such as: KSU football! One important aspect of college life is meeting new people, and really getting to know them. Dr. White encouraged students to do just that, and to remember that each of us brings something worthwhile to the table at KSU.
On Monday, a few of us took a road trip down to the Marietta Campus for the second Odyssey Orientation. Mentees and Mentors turned out for the event and were able to hear from Dr. Michael Sanseviro, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Kennesaw State University.
While having been at KSU for about eleven years and in the University System of Georgia for about 20, he has also worked out of state. One place Dr. Sanseviro mentioned in particular was his time at Polytechnic University in Farmingdale and Brooklyn, New York. While in New York, he noticed a trend in what graduate schools and employers looked for in students. It’s not just about GPA, although a good or great GPA is important, more than that, were the applied skills that were gained outside the classroom. In his introduction, Dr. Sanseviro said that in addition to his other responsibilities, he is “the Dean of all that goes on outside the classroom.” This aspect of college he says is vital to building critical thinking skills, problem solving, and even empathy. As Kennesaw State University extends its presence further in the global society, such as through the new campus being developed in Montepulciano, Italy, its students have a higher chance of ongoing success by developing these skills by being involved. That’s why mentorship is an investment in the future. Being a part of an organization like Odyssey shows that students are committed to more than just text book knowledge, and are developing marketable skills that are transferable for life.
In addition to his sound advice about becoming involved and developing valuable life skills, Dr. Sanseviro encouraged students to reach out to others about the “hidden gems” on campus like Odyssey. He reminded them that they are able to give feedback, make suggestions and invest in the University and future students by engaging in life outside the classroom.