Introducing the Ag Ed and ACM Peer Mentor Program

Peer MentorNew to our department this year is a peer focused mentoring program developed by Brandon Roiger, an Agricultural Education student and Master of Public Policy Candidate in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is also serving as the Peer-to-Peer program coordinator. “I have a passion for empowering people to be the best version of themselves that they can be, and I have always thought mentoring was one way people are able to accomplish that,” Brandon said. Last year, he had the opportunity to take part in the peer mentor program in the University Honors Program. “I had such an amazing experience with the two students I was paired with. As a result, I decided I wanted to implement a program in my academic department, Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing.”

After discussing it with faculty, Brandon decided to pursue this project as part of an honors course. He connected with his leadership class professor, and they developed a contract to make the course count towards his honors requirements under one condition; Brandon would develop the curriculum for this program. Brandon did not shy away, and he created a program plan that virtually anyone can implement. The intent of this curriculum is that any student at the University of Minnesota, or any college or university, can replicate the plan and implement it in their own department.

In the AECM department, the main purpose of this program is for new students to connect with current students in the department in order to better transition into college. Through this program, mentees will have a resource that can help them successfully navigate their first year as a college student and be able to develop relationships with current students. Mentors also benefit through this program as they have the capacity to participate in an experience that helps them grow as an individual and become stronger in their leadership roles, as well as having the opportunity to develop relationships with new students. Departments also benefit from the Peer-to-Peer program as they are able to recruit and retain more students, in addition to providing a resource to their students to grow as leaders.

“What you put into the program is what you get out – just like anything you do in life. If you put a lot into this program, you will get a friend. As a mentee, you will be poured into so that you can pour into someone else in the future. As a mentor, it is a chance to give back to our academic department and college in a very meaningful way and on a personal level,” Brandon said. The initial feedback from mentors and mentees was wonderful. It truly seems as though students are loving the program. Because of this, Brandon hopes this program can one day expand beyond Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing.

Here is a current list of the mentors and mentees:

  • Alex Broderius & Jack Schwartz
  • Ethan Dado & Will Teachout
  • Mariah Daninger & Laura Wyatt
  • Evie Enderle & Natalie Resch
  • Michaela Gallup & McKenzie Barth
  • Paige Hildebrandt & Harley Braun
  • Kennedy Janssen & Ashley Warren
  • Morgan Krause & Rachel Coyne
  • Nicole Krumrie & Megan Slater
  • Kevin Lamont & Brady Tiede
  • Haely Leiding & Abby Penzenstadler
  • Alexis Murillo & Patrick Thofson
  • Adam Stevermer & Martyn Novacek
  • Emily Trout & Janelle Hueners
  • Cassie Walters & Madison Muir

If you would like more information on the Peer-to-Peer mentor program, please contact Brandon Roiger at roige008@umn.edu for more information. Be on the lookout next semester for the opportunity to apply for next year’s program!