Waaswa Completes CALS Peer Mentoring Program
Andrew Waaswa, an AEE doctoral student within the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences (AHS), successfully completed the CALS Peer Mentoring Program as part of the Graduate Peer Mentoring Collaborative. This Graduate Peer Mentoring Collaborative further develops the mentoring skills of doctoral students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It allows the student to: (a) serve as peer mentors to their fellow graduate students, (b) mentor current or future undergraduates and others they may supervise, (c) be active mentees in relationships with their own mentors. During the AHS departmental Fall 2022 orientation meeting, he introduced the program to new doctoral students, which resulted in two students enrolling in the program.
Waaswa expressed “Participating in the graduate peer mentoring collaborative program as a mentor has been so rewarding because I desire to become a future agricultural leader. The program has developed and honed my skills which I can easily use in stakeholder engagement and support any program participant at any level.” Through training sessions and working with mentees, Waaswa has become more aware of the roles and responsibilities of mentoring other peers and students.
As part of the program, Waaswa learned how to help students develop a sense of community, navigate challenging conversations, foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, build up trustful relationships, become an active listener, and tailor advice to mentees’ specific needs, challenges, and goals. One of the significant outcomes of the program was that one of Waaswa’s’ mentees got interested and applied to become a mentor. The mentee will also present an innovative poster at the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) conference in Raleigh, NC. Waaswa stated “I felt a sense of achievement when I learned that they were considered and also developed an innovative poster to share the uniqueness of the graduate peer mentoring program and its potential in helping graduate students navigate studies and personal challenges.”
This showcases the uniqueness of the graduate peer mentoring program and its potential in helping graduate students navigate studies and personal challenges. Many of Waaswa’s CALS peer mentees have testified that the program contributed to their well-being and success in graduate school, and they gained a lot. Waaswa hopes to apply the skills he learned from the program when working with farmers, leaders in the agricultural industry, and other stakeholders to foster agricultural and rural development across the globe.