What’s a typical week in the life of a college student? Bronx high school sophomores from the Pablo Neruda Academy found out in November, spending a week with Rose Hill students through the College Shadow Program administered by Fordham’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. A total of 24 student-mentor pairs attended classes, took notes and shared discussions and meals; some students even stayed for the weekend Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by Asili, the University’s cultural organization for students of African descent.
“The students were really engaged and enjoyed themselves,” said assistant dean and director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs Nina Longino, who said she was particularly interested in the mentoring, one-on-one aspect of the program. “Whatever you do,” she told her student-mentors, “let them see you do it.” (She added, smiling, “and let it be studying!”)
Longino said the program fits into the Multicultural Affairs mission well. “I support the activities of all the multicultural student organizations, and stress that community service is central to that,” she said.
Administrators at Pablo Neruda Academy were also pleased with the outcomes. “I was looking for ways to extend and change the sophomore program to make it more meaningful,” said the school’s internship coordinator, Alyssa Simon. “I thought it was our responsibility to really bring meaning to the idea of ‘college’ in terms of how much work it entails,” said Simon. “I thought meeting with actual students—particularly those of similar backgrounds and from similar places—would have much more of an impact.”
Simon hopes to formalize a program in which Fordham mentors work with Neruda Academy students throughout the year.
By Brian Kluepfel