North Hennepin Program Aims to Retain First Generation College Students
North Hennepin Community College (NHCC) has a pilot program called HOPE2 that hopes to retain first generation college students.
Mayra’s HOPE2 Story
A college campus can be intimidating to a first-time college student who is the first in her family to go to college.
Just ask Mayra Rodriguez.
“When I came here on campus, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know about the resources that were given,” said Mayra Rodriguez. “I didn’t know anyone.”
That can often be enough to deter a student from continuing a college career.
But not Mayra. She has morphed into a leader on campus and credits much of that success to her involvement in a pilot program called HOPE2. The acronym stands for Heart Opportunity People Equity in Education.
“It’s helped me network, but it’s also helped me set goals for myself and helped me overcome obstacles,” said Mayra.
Hope2 Enters Year Three
The Hope2 is in its third year and pairs 25 first generation college students with a mentor.
“They feel when they walk on this big campus and can’t talk to somebody and they fall through the cracks,” said Nikhil Enuglea, NHCC’s diversity and equity student specialist. “The hope is that we connect more and more students to mentors and students to faculty.”
Nikhil Enugela says the program is a commitment and not for everyone. Students must take a certain number of hours, keep their GPA up, and attend two workshops plus two meetings with mentors each month.
“Most students see it as a commitment, but the reward is constant frequency of contact,” said Enugela.
The program even connects students to possible internships and work study programs on the Brooklyn Park campus.
The constant contact could be the determining factor in keeping a student in class, navigating challenges, and making the most of the opportunity.
Mayra says it’s been a blessing.
“It’s a great experience you are going to have,” says Mayra. “You are not alone. You are going to build and learn so many new things.”
To learn more about diversity programs at North Hennepin Community College’s program, click here.
North Hennepin Community College with join with other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to waive admission fees during October. To learn more, click here.