Fellowship Program Aims to Develop ALANA Students’ Skills

By Morgan Petronelli

Sylvia Imler, associate vice president for Multicultural Affairs at Youngstown State University, organized a new program this year to help advance the work skills of African American, Latino, Asian and Native American students.

The Navarro Executive Fellows is a mentoring work experience program for ALANA students.

The fellowship is for incoming freshman and requires an application process. Applicants must have the required 2.5 GPA along with not having taken a plethora of pre-college courses beforehand.

Imler stated that the program is setup to make students successful.

“When you look at the data, oftentimes incoming freshman struggle that first year, and so we want to provide some supports for them,” she said.

Once all of the applications are reviewed, a screening process begins which includes interviews with executives, provosts, vice presidents, deans and associate vice presidents.

Once interviews are conducted and over with, fellows are accepted and placed with an executive. After two years, these executives are given new students.

This is the pilot year for the program, but it will continue to run every year hereafter.

While in the fellowship program, students are permitted to work one job on campus, but cannot work more than 15 hours per week. Students will also be paid minimum wage through the fellowship for their services to executives.

They are also required to partake in bi-weekly cohort sessions. These meeting consist of working with fellows to help with leadership skills, advice, training and stereotypes. Imler stated that the program focuses on “workplace skills, professional skills and personal skills.”

Students are then evaluated during midterm and the end of the semester. The evaluation consists of a self-evaluation and an evaluation by the executive.

Overall, Imler says the students are prompted to “see how academics are connected to the workplace.” The fellowship is set up to encourage the optimum success of every ALANA student who passes through.

If you are an ALANA student and are interested in the program, visit http://www.ysu.edu/multicultural-affairs/navarro and fill out the application.