Palomar officials have started a student ambassador program geared toward success for Palomar’s new and current students.
With funding Palomar College has received from the Student Success and Support program, the faculty has invested in a student ambassador program.
“Me being part of the student ambassador program is probably the best thing I’ve done at Palomar,” said Lisa Filice, the acting manager of orientation and follow up services at Palomar.
She spoke on the importance of the student ambassadors not only trying to bring in new students, but also to keep the ones that Palomar currently has.
“It’s really important for us to make sure that the community college helps as much as we can so that it brings those high school students and keeps the students that we have, but really helps prepare people in any stage of their life,” she said in reference to how the student ambassador program is working to help students.
On what the requirements for being an ambassador are she referenced that, “you have to be awesome.”
What being “awesome” entails is a focus on being both welcoming and willing to step out of your comfort zone.
As she described it, “They have to be willing to say, ‘How can I help you?’ and step out of their comfort zone. We really wanted to make sure that student ambassador team was very diverse.“
The diversity was a key factor for deciding who they would take on to the team, this being that the student body at Palomar itself is very diverse.
The importance of not only reaching out to new students, but also helping and retaining the students that Palomar currently has is the main focus of the program. The ambassadors are striving to help Palomar’s current students get from their first steps on campus to walking for graduation.
This is achieved by the ambassadors being the in-between for individual students and faculty on a student-to-student level.
For example, during the first two weeks of this semester the student ambassadors went down and worked the line at enrollment office to provide support to the incoming and returning students.
“They reported 50 percent improvement,” Filice said. “We got through students 50 percent faster.”
Kendyl Magnuson, director of Enrollment Services, agreed the ambassadors are essential to helping students at Palomar.
“One of our philosophies was rather than saying that’s a question for someone else, we tried to make sure that our ambassadors knew the answer and if they needed to be somewhere else we walked them to that place,” he said.
One of the ambassadors who is involved in this initiative is Edgar Garcia.
Garcia is not only an ambassador, but also part of the Explorer Program for Palomar’s Campus Police. His experience with them gave him experience in community service, public speaking, and more than anything else, leadership that made him a good fit for the student ambassador program, he said.
What drew him toward being a student ambassador was, “the fact that I always wanted to help people. That has always been a passion for me and I’m very motivated to do so.”
This is shown in an anecdote he shared about his experience with a high school student during an outreach event.
“One of the kids told me that his dad told him he was too dumb to go to college. I personally felt like I connected with him, because a lot of the time you grow up and think maybe college isn’t for me and I thought it was important for us to explain to him no one is too dumb for school. You do what you want in life and that has an impact on kids,” Garcia said.
His goal in the program is to show everybody what Palomar offers. He said he wants to help students get to where they want to be, by showing them all of Palomar’s resources.
Magnuson stressed that this isn’t just a great opportunity to help students but it’s also a way to help the ambassadors themselves with in-depth training on how the college works.
As he put it, “I like seeing students work on campus. It creates a double win, the students make connections that they wouldn’t otherwise make. In my experience students who work on campus get several benefits.”
These benefits were that it makes it easier for them to make connections within the college that makes it easier for them to stay at the college. Magnuson stressed the importance of being involved with the campus in some capacity.
“A guy like Edgar, if he has trouble on a test he has us to fall back on,” he said.
The student ambassador program is currently looking for four more members for its team of 12 people. If you feel you have what it takes to be an ambassador, email Lisa A. Filice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- News.Student Ambassadors: Stephen Davis/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved