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Athletic department launches MAGIS mentor program

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Athletic department launches MAGIS mentor program

Photo by Photo by Maryam Tunio // maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Photo by Maryam Tunio // maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

Photo by Photo by Maryam Tunio // maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

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Academic counselor Nicolle Lewis started a mentor program pairing high-achieving freshmen athletes with upperclassmen, called Marquette Athletes Guiding and Inspiring Success.

The program’s acronym, MAGIS, is a Latin word meaning “good” or “better,” representing Marquette’s mission to serve others and be the difference.

“We wanted to give the incoming freshmen the opportunity to be matched with an upperclassman who has really been through it all … and who can be beneficial for them not only in academics, but also in their career path later in life,” Lewis said.

Most of the pairs had their first meetings in the past week, and according to mentor Caroline Fink, a junior in the College of Education and member of the women’s soccer team, everything is going well so far.

“I’m not sure what the results will look like, but I’m really excited for it because it gives me an opportunity to meet people outside of my own team,” Fink said.

Fink said she expects to learn as much from her mentee as he or she will from her. With a major in education, this is an opportunity to practice helping a student adjust to a new environment.

“I just think it’s nice that we get to have conversations together,” she added.

Lewis said she does not anticipate any major challenges with the program, but empathizes with the student-athletes’ busy schedules and thus designed the program to be low maintenance. Pairs are encouraged to meet and chat over coffee, ice cream or other enjoyable activities, making the program more of a fun friendship than a grueling commitment.

“The student-athlete population has a lot on their plate, so even just adding one or two hour-long appointments in a month can be daunting,” Lewis said. “The only obstacle I foresee is adding more to an already really busy schedule, but we continue to communicate that this is very relaxed. We don’t want anyone to be stressed.”

Spring semester of 2015 was the first time the average GPA of student-athletes dropped below the standard of the university. The athletic academic counselors are working to change that, but according to Lewis, MAGIS is about more than grades.

“The goal of this program is to ensure their GPA stays high, but it’s also to help with all the other career development and professional sides of things,” Lewis said. “For the GPAs, there’s so many contributors to that. There’s a lot of other initiatives we’re working on, and this is just a very small part of it, but I don’t think it could hurt.”

Derek Gross, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, said he feels the MAGIS program will help with the transition from high school to college, as well as assist with time management and staying on top of assignments.

“To have someone with the same major as me, I think that’s really helpful,” said Gross, a cross country and track athlete.

Lewis said she feels the program will be successful because it provides freshmen with a resource that they otherwise might be too shy or overwhelmed to seek out.

“Sometimes those incoming freshman don’t really know who to ask, so we wanted to match them with an upperclassman who knows the ropes and has been through it all,” she said.

Lewis said she is excited for the future of MAGIS and expressed confidence in the upperclassmen.

“Our mentors are really sold on it,” she said. “They’re the best of the best from our student-athlete population.”

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