Journo students jump into mentorship roles

by Ross Cristantiello / Beacon Staff • October 5, 2016

Tim Riley advises the mentoring program
Tim Riley advises the mentoring program

The journalism department is experimenting with a new peer-mentoring program this year to ease first year students’ transition to college life.  

The Journalism Undergraduate Mentorship Program, commonly known as JUMP, pairs incoming journalism students with juniors and seniors in the department. Assistant journalism professor and faculty advisor to the program Tim Riley said that the mostly student-run program is designed to acclimate new student journalists with the college and the department.

“When you first get to school, you’re so anxious,” Riley said. “But it’s nice to have a buddy system. We’re off to a very promising start,”

JUMP is modeled after a similar mentorship program in the performing arts department, Riley said. Although it was announced last April, the program actually got underway this summer. The official Facebook group, formed in July, has grown to 88 members.

Each year, about 110 undergraduates enter the journalism program, Riley said.

The mentors, such as junior journalism major Lauren Bennett, were paired with four or five incoming students based on shared interests. Bennett said she first met the students she now works with early this September in the Bill Bordy Theater.

“It was a bigger turnout than I thought,” Bennett said. “They all seem very interested and excited.”

JUMP has been officially active for more than a month now, but it’s still developing, Bennett said. She said students are planning more meetups and have been encouraged to connect at events sponsored by the journalism department, such as the presidential and vice presidential debate viewing parties.

For the mentors, JUMP serves as an opportunity to give back and provide a valuable service that they could have used when first entering the college, Bennett said.

“I really wish that I had a mentor as a freshman,” Bennett said. “It’s helpful to have someone there to show you the ropes.”