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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Mentees share their RAMP success stories

Mentees at RAMP EOY celebration May 2018

RAMP mentees gather for a group shot at a May end-of-year celebration of the pilot program.

Mentee: Jessica Paniagua, junior studying liberal studies

Mentor: Samarrah Haynes, Bakersfield City School District special education teacher

From Paniagua:

I've been having a great experience with the mentor program because Ms. (Samarrah) Haynes has been answering all my questions about being a teacher for special education.

She suggested new ways of improving my resume to catch the employer's attention when I apply for a job. We have been practicing interview questions and how I can answer the questions while showing confidence.

She let me shadow her classroom for the day and I saw things I was not expecting. The students would change moods in a second but the whole time, Ms. Haynes was keeping a cool head. She made sure to continue the lesson while also dealing with the students.

Samarrah Haynes and Jessica Paniagua2

Mentor Samarrah Haynes and her mentee, Jessica Paniagua

I learned that multitasking and keeping a calm mind are the most important skills a teacher will need. I also learned how to modify a lesson to fit all the needs of every student because they're not all on the same level. I do not have much knowledge with students with disabilities, so learning from an experienced teacher is really helpful.

Ms. Haynes has also been telling me about the new techniques teachers are using and the new programs like Common Core and computer testing. I have been learning so much and I really enjoy being in this program.

I am a first-generation student and always had questions about my career, but I didn't have a family member who could answer them. So learning from someone in the field has helped me answer all my questions. This program is giving me knowledge that I did not have so I can grow into a prepared educator by the time I graduate with my degree.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the mentor program.

Mentee: Cody Chambers, junior studying political science

Mentor: Chad Boyles, attorney with Chain Cohn Stiles

From Chambers:

Thanks to my RAMP mentor, Chad Boyles, I was offered an internship with the Congressional Leadership Fund. Chad gave me key advice and a professional opinion when I needed them. Sometimes I just needed a second opinion and he would not hesitate to give it to me for both internship work and my school life outside of it. 

He also allowed me to get into contact with a friend of his who participated in an internship with the United Nations. The friend had walked the path I wanted to walk, so I got additional advice from someone who was able to partake in an awesome overseas internship.

Cody Chambers2

Cody Chambers

I ultimately had to decline the internship to address more personal tasks over the summer, but it still stands that I am extremely grateful to RAMP as I had yet to receive an opportunity for an internship until enrolling in the program.

All in all, a pretty good success story.

Mentee: Susana Avalos, junior studying criminal justice

Mentor: Adam Alvidrez, community engagement advisor with Chevron

From Avalos:

I am the mentee of Adam Alvidrez. Because of the connection I’ve made with him, he’s opened a lot of doors for me. Previously I would not have had the courage to apply for county jobs nor network with community members. I am now in the process of hopefully entering an internship with Kern Patriot Partnership with the Kern County Veterans Service Department. I’ll know by June.

I have also interviewed at the Sheriff’s Department for a sheriff’s aide position and I’m waiting to hear back from it.

I am grateful this opportunity was made available; had I not met Adam and been taught the importance of networking, I would have never been comfortable or confident to do it on my own. I now have the courage and confidence to step outside the boundaries I didn’t think I’d be able to do and because of that I’m one step closer to being involved with my community and have hope for the future.

I hope this program continues for years to come. I have nothing but positive things to say about it.

Learn more about RAMP, including how to sign up as a mentor or mentee.

RELATED: Internships landed, self-confidence built: Pilot mentor program exceeds expectations

The Runner Alumni Mentor Program was so successful the Alumni Association plans to expand it to involve all four of CSUB's four academic school next academic year.