Bank of America has awarded a $15,000 corporate community grant to support Palm Beach Atlantic University's Peer-to-Peer Mentor program during the 2016-17 academic year.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Peer-to-Peer Mentor program. Through this grant, we are able to equip young people in our community with the skills they need to succeed in college and prepare to enter the workforce,” said Stephanie Glavin, Bank of America’s Palm Beach County market manager. “Bank of America continues to be committed to playing an active role in workforce development and educational initiatives, which strengthen and grow our neighborhoods and community.”

The program, which began in 2012 and involves students helping their peers with science and mathematics courses, has been shown to have a positive effect on freshman student retention, according to data compiled by the University's Office of Accreditation, Assessment and Research. 

The data showed that between the fall semester of 2014 and the fall semester of 2015, the retention difference was 12 percentage points higher for the 204 students who participated in the Peer-to-Peer Mentor program over their classmates who did not participate.

In addition, the program participants demonstrated higher levels of student success, with 74 percent of them meeting math- or science-specific general education course requirements as prescribed by the students’ major, according to the study.

“This semester I took advantage of the Principles of Chemistry study group and the Biology study group and both were awesome,” one student later wrote, crediting his peer mentors with helping him to pass his exams. 

Another student also had positive feedback about her peer mentor. “She knew the material very well and after going to a few of her sessions she knew my learning style and what I needed to focus on. This is a great program and has helped me tremendously this semester,” the student wrote.

Graduating senior Carly Chapman has been involved in the program as a peer mentor since the second semester of her freshman year. As a mentor, “we have an incredible opportunity to pour into these students not only academically, but also spiritually as we encourage them not to give up, to keep going when the going gets rough, and to see school not as a laborious task to get to the next step but rather as a place to build character traits such as patience, endurance, grace, passion, kindness in the midst of struggle and, of course, faith,” she said.

Fall 2015 Peer-to-Peer mentors

Among the Fall 2015 Peer-to-Peer Mentors were (front row, from left) Carly Chapman, Primose Lataillade, Helene Forney, Lexi Eisenman, Kayla Mendez, Assistant Provost and program director Carolanne Brown, Shelly Santizo-Escobar, Maria Albanese, Shanitra McKenzie, Brittany Carlton-Wauford, Andrea Romanowski, (back row, from left) Holly Knutson, Dave Doyle, Cody Engelsma, Yasmeena Zouita, Joseph Connor, Derek Mijangos, Sarah Buwalda and Cara Michaud. Click on photo for larger image.