Two of LC’s peer mentoring programs — Connections and Link Leaders — have been featured at national and regional conferences hosted by NACADA (a leading association for academic advising), the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education (NODA), and the National Resource for the First year Experience. They have also been featured in publications like Academic Advising Today, Colleges That Change Lives, The Mentor, and The Princeton Review, and have won awards from NACADA.
In fall of 2013, Heidi Koring, director of Academic Advising, co-edited Peer Advising & Mentoring: A Guide for Advising Practitioners and published by NACADA, which also featured a chapter by Mari Normyle, associate dean for Student Success and Engagement, and former director of first-year programs Herbert Bruce.
“University of Lynchburg is proud to be recognized as a leader in peer advising and peer advising programs,” Koring said. “Not only do these programs help advisees become fully engaged members of the campus community, but they provide valuable leadership training and development to peer advisors and they strengthen the vibrant, interdependent campus community that is central to the LC experience.”
Sami Sharkey ’15, a Connection Leader and communication studies major, said the Connections Program gave her one of the most worthwhile experiences she has had at LC. “It is what inspired me to pursue a career in higher education and gave me the confidence to know I will one day be successful in that field. Being a mentor for students only a year or two younger was one of the most challenging things I have done; however, it was also one of the most rewarding. Being in a position such as a Connection Leader made me realize the importance of being responsible and modeling the behavior of a successful college student. The leadership skills and confidence I gained from the Connections Program are only a small fraction of all the things I gained through this experience, all of which are invaluable to me.”
Connection Leader and psychology major Holly Lovern ’14, says, “The Connections Program was initially what kept me at University of Lynchburg. When thinking about transferring, a peer encouraging me to give it a chance was more impactful than anything else could have been. Someone so close in age to me believed in me as a student and believed I could find my home, too. As a Connection Leader for three years, I realized I learned as much from my first-year students because I realized everyone’s college experience becomes something different. It’s truly a personal fit. This program helped me feel comfortable with that and make LC my own home.”