Figuring out a career path takes much time and advisement. With the help of the Center for Student Success and Services’ new student ambassador program, however, this process has become a lot easier.
CSSS created the program to match up tribal college students and seasoned professionals with tribal members looking to pursue higher education or enter the work force. Many of the volunteers who serve as ambassadors will include college juniors and seniors, business owners and those who completed technical programs.
Tomasina Gilliam, who works in Advanced Career Development, said CSSS came up with the idea for the program after receiving feedback that tribal students want more personal guidance when figuring out the next steps into adulthood. The volunteer program connects all students, regardless of age, to professionals so that they can succeed in their future endeavors while maintaining a sense of community.
“We saw that a lot of students took interest in the college world and said they would feel more comfortable talking to someone from their community who has been through what they’re currently going through,” Gilliam explained. “It’s really about developing a relationship and helping each other grow in the community to cultivate leaders.”
There is no limit for how long individuals can participate in the program.
Even though the program just started, the office has already received interest from community members who want to become ambassadors. To serve as volunteers, individuals must have established good grade point averages in college and show good standing with the community. The department matches volunteers with tribal students based on the students’ career goals and college interests. Gilliam said this is better for students because many of the employees who traditionally help them pursue higher education are not tribal members and therefore cannot always relate to issues or obstacles tribal students face. The program helps establish a more trusting and comfortable environment.
“This program is beneficial because it’s more community based,” Gilliam said. “You’re talking to a tribal member who is successful in the route you’re trying to go or who has insight … you’re establishing a relationship with another tribal member.”
To sign up or learn more information, contact CSSS at 954-989-6840.