College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources / Oklahoma State University
Biosystems & agricultural engineering
Being a freshman on campus can be a scary thing. New faces, surroundings, demands and
challenges can be overwhelming.
mentors its students to success
But a relaxing, calming sensation takes over when you cross the threshold of the department of
Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University
In the department’s office known as “The Source,” melodies of “Only You” by The Platters can be heard. It is a place to feel comfortable
and a place that can be a “home away from home.”
This department is doing everything it can to make this transition easier and to make freshmen feel that “only you” matter.
“Because we are a small department, we are all for one and one for all. We want our new students to feel this closeness the minute they
step onto campus,” Marge Johnston, unit assistant for biosystems and agricultural engineering, said.
There are 54 undergraduate students in the department including 18 freshmen.
One of the new activities the department has started for undergraduates is a mentor program.
Before the beginning of the semester, letters with return addresses were sent out to the members of the freshmen class asking if they
would like to be a part of a mentorship program. They were matched up with older undergraduate students who had the same area of interest.
Max Homerding (left) and his protege, Joe Vadder,
work together on a problem.
Doug Hamilton, biosystems and agricultural engineering assistant professor and faculty adviser of OSU’s chapter of American Society of
Agricultural Engineers, said the faculty saw a need for more freshmen involvement and ways to make them feel welcome.
“We have good students, and we want them to stay. If they feel involved, their lives will be happier here. We want to give them a place to
belong, to be welcomed, and to become involved. The mentorship program seemed to be a logical way to get this problem solved,” Hamilton said.
The mentors call their protegés periodically to make sure all their classes are going okay, remind them of upcoming ASAE events and let
them know that they care and are willing to help them in any way they can.
Erica Gaddis, a biosystems and agricultural engineering senior from Holdenville, Okla., said, “I have enjoyed being a mentor. I get really busy
with all my school work and don’t take the time to get to know the new students. This program has given me the chance to spend more time
with them and get to know them personally. I wished we would have had a program like this when I was a freshman.”
“By having a mentor, I always have someone to go to when I have a question or a problem. It is nice to know one more face on campus.
I wish I had more time to spend with her,” said Autumn Hood, a freshman in biosystems and agricultural engineering from Westcliffe, Colo.
Faculty and students have said they believe this program to be a success.
“The mentorship program seems to really be a good thing. Every club should be doing this,” Hamilton said.
Another activity the department is doing to encourage involvement is sponsoring a weekly pizza and pop night. A faculty member and a member
of Alpha Epsilon, the biosystems and agricultural engineering honorary organization, are there to lend a helping hand.
Students bring homework from any academic area in which they need help. It is a time to get assistance as well as to get to know each other better, said Johnston.
“We want to offer all sorts of activities for the new students to get involved and have something fun to do. Hopefully, there is something offered that will
fit each one,” said Joe Vadder, ASAE president and biosystems and agricultural engineering senior from Hennessey, Okla.
Yes, being a college freshman can be a scary thing. Through its “only you” attitude and activities, the biosystems and agricultural engineering department
will try to create a more peaceful experience.
By Cammie Johnson
This issue of Cowboy Journal
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