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Gavilan Joint Community College District Preparing Students for a Successful Future Students Build Leadership Skills in Peer Mentor Program Surrounded by literature about all the student services, peer mentors Jacob Spaulding and Mary Salmeron work together in the Gavilan College Welcome Center. G avilan College’s Peer Mentors, trained students from all majors, are often the fi rst point of contact for people learning about Gavilan College. Stationed at the Welcome Center, serving as campus tour guides, working in classrooms and tutoring labs, they offer straight talk about the questions students ask the most. In the Welcome Center, in addition to answering questions, they help students schedule appointments with counselors, explain financial aid and FAFSA, point out deadlines with applications and transfers. "We can keep it friendly with students, offer personal experience," said Mary Salmeron. "We refer them to counselors for the tough stuff." Salmeron, a May 2018 graduate, became a peer mentor in 2017. "I like the educational forums we can attend, and let them know all the ways peer mentors can help." In Fall 2018 he transferred to CSU Northridge to study media. Jacob Spaulding became a peer mentor in Spring 2018. A first year CSI major, he likes the freedom to be studious, scheduling his class time around his peer mentor duties. Peer Mentors (l-r) Angelica Johnson, John Cardinalli, Jacob Spaulding, Skye Gonzalez adjusted their flags, lined up the Gavilan College 2018 graduates and led the processional "You aren't just restricted to a desk for hours," he said, noting a recent suicide prevention training session he participated in. Peer mentors work at the Career Fair, in the Writing Center, in the math labs and in other internal leadership positions. They receive training on all the student services and can direct students to the right place for technical information, records and financial aid deadlines. The tour's on us! Peer Mentors conduct campus tours and assist the college in outreach activities. In August they helped to meet and greet guests— and helped them find the Student Center—when the Gilroy Rotary held their meeting on the college campus. The program recruits for new Peer Mentors in the fall. Students receive leadership and specialized training and can structure up to 20 hours a week of work around their class schedules. They build leadership and interpersonal skills, which adds to their academic and professional resumes. Contact Ryan Shook, Student Life Coordinator, to learn more about this program. For more information about the Peer Mentor Program, email Ryan Shook at 50 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018