Eastern Launches New Student Mentoring Program

May 8, 2023

EWU’s new Aspire Program, funded with grant support from Innovia Foundation and Washington Student Achievement Council, places Eastern undergraduates in local high schools as mentors to guide students.

Mentoring is an excellent way for college students to give back to their communities while enhancing their resumes, says Jasmin Davis, Aspire Manager. Students will typically work six hours per week, making it manageable while not interfering with their academic pursuits, she says.

In addition to these benefits, providing mentoring services for the Aspire Program is a paid position. The Aspire management team is looking for 30 new mentors to begin the fall quarter. Applications open on Handshake May 8.

Aspire participants will use the method of near-peer mentoring, a process designed to connect high school students with undergraduate mentors who have shared educational and vocational passions. High school mentees receive helpful information and inspiration about how to best navigate postsecondary and career pathways.

“The Aspire Program is about connecting college students with high schoolers to help them figure out what they want to do after high school, whether that be a two-year or a four-year college, a vocational school or the military,” says Davis. “We want to help them navigate that pathway.”

Mentors touch upon “things like figuring out what is the best fit for [students] through career surveys, how to apply to colleges, navigating how and where to find scholarships,” says Davis. “Mentors show high schoolers the resources that are out there.”

Undergraduate mentors also share their personal experiences and offer guidance, support and encouragement. “All our mentors know a lot about Eastern, so they can share their experiences and how they made it here [to Eastern] and what college is like”, says Davis, who is a current Eastern MBA student. “This includes sharing details about juggling a job with taking classes, how many hours they spend studying and what campus life is like.

On top of their own personal experience, mentors will provide the high school students with information on different schools and programs outside of EWU, like Spokane Community College.

All EWU students are welcome to apply for the Aspire mentor position. The experience can be useful to students following career paths in education or social work. “It’s also great for students that are just passionate about helping people,” she says.

“This program can teach you a lot about interacting with underprivileged and underserved students.”

This year’s group of mentors included a wide range of students majoring in fields such as computer science, pre-law, secondary education and more.

There was one thing all student mentors had in common. “This year all the mentors that applied had a mentor in their life that helped them,” says Davis. “They want to give back.”

The Aspire Program was brought to EWU based off a similar program from the University of Washington called the Dream Project.

A $20,000 grant from Innovia helped to launch the program and funded mentors this year.

The Aspire Program was most recently awarded $90,000 in partnership with LaunchNW. This is part of a $850,000 Regional Challenge Grant invested by the Washington Student Achievement Council to grow the Coordinated Community Mentoring Program (CCMP) over the next 18 months.

The program will work in six area high schools, North Central, Shadle Park, Medical Lake, Riverside, East Valley and University High School. Davis, who went to Rogers High School herself, hopes to expand to other high schools in the region if funding allows.

The Aspire mentor positions will be posted on Handshake on May 8. For any further questions or to learn how to scale and sustain this work, please contact Jasmin Davis at jdavis163@ewu.edu or visit https://inside.ewu.edu/careercenter/ewu-aspire/.

Learn more about how you can support the EWU Aspire mentorship program.