Katie James has been spending her senior year working to further develop the community of the University of New Mexico Honors College through her role as mentor coordinator and leadership team lead for the Honors Pathmakers mentorship program. Pursuing a dual degree of psychology with a minor in math and biology with a minor in chemistry, James hopes to create traditions that will continue after her graduation.
The Honors Pathmakers Program seeks to match student mentors to student mentees within the UNM Honors College. Upperclassmen in the UNM Honors College volunteer as mentors and fill out interest forms that are then used to match them to their mentees. They then send out updates about life on campus throughout the year. Mentors and mentees can further connect on their own or at events hosted by the Pathmakers Leadership Team.
Alongside wanting to feel more connected to campus during the lockdown, James said her positive experience with the program during her freshman year led her to join the mentor side of the program.
“Coming from out of state, it was valuable to have (my mentor) as a resource for learning how to get involved, which classes to take and how to make the most of my time at UNM,” James said.
James has been on the mentor side of the program for three years, starting as a sophomore mentor. She then served as the events coordinator her junior year and is now mentor coordinator and team lead.
“I had felt really supported by the PLT during my time as a mentor and thought joining would be a meaningful way to continue to give back,” James said.
As mentor coordinator, she works with mentors and helps match them to mentees. She also oversees the PLT and works with the Honors College faculty to keep the program running.
Communications coordinator Julia Flores commended James for her collaborative work with other programs, including the Honors Student Association also hosted in the Honors College.
“I think Katie has made a really big effort with trying to host things, trying to make things easier for freshmen and trying to create more of a community vibe. Katie’s been right there also working with HSA in the beginning and trying to extend a lot of olive branches to other organizations around campus,” Flores said.
Events coordinator Dua Hussain and service coordinator Madison Otero agreed that James has made a space that is collaborative and welcoming to the people the program works with.
“As we transitioned back to an in-person format post-COVID, Katie did a great job of overseeing the logistics and ensuring that all incoming honors students felt welcome,” Hussain said.
The major goal for the team this year was to implement a system where mentees would choose their mentors from anonymous biographies, according to James. In the future, the PLT hopes to collaborate with more organizations and resource centers on campus to host events.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @dailylobo