It’s the T.E.A.M. that Counts
Mentoring program helps first-year students settle in
by Patrick Broadwater
Many students struggle with moving away from home for the first time and acclimating to college. The T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) peer mentoring program helps combat the particular challenges of students from underrepresented backgrounds and ease their transition to Bucknell.

The program partners first-year student scholars from more urban and ethnically diverse areas with seasoned students who, as peer mentors, offer support and resources to assist new students in navigating life on campus and in rural Lewisburg.

“Bucknell is quite a change for some students,” says Rosalie Rodriguez, director of Multicultural Student Services. “Even those who grew up in predominately white areas were still able to go home to their families at night and have their culture and heritage reaffirmed. Although our under-represented minority population has grown, students potentially can still be the only person of color in their residence hall, on their sports team or in their classes. They don’t get that affirmation of their personhood, culture or value system mirrored back to them as often as other students might.”

Kira Jessup '23 (left) and Esmely Munoz '20 get together for some creative fun
Photo: Emily Paine
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Kira Jessup ’23 (left) gets together with her mentor, Esmely Munoz ’20, for some creative fun at the 7th Street Studio & Makerspace.
“I’ve been able to develop so much as a person. If I can do that for other people and help them succeed, I feel like I’m paying it forward.”
Ryquan Harris ’20
Each year, about 25 scholars are invited to join the decade-old program. They meet with their mentors at least every other week and attend leadership training sessions, social events and retreats throughout the academic year. An intensive five-day orientation when they enter Bucknell not only provides information about resources but also takes students into the community to introduce them to local service providers, such as barbers and hair stylists, so they feel comfortable coming back at a later date for a haircut.

“For me, the biggest benefit of participating was coming into the school year with a group of friends,” says Kira Jessup ’23, a neuroscience major from Baltimore. “Being a part of T.E.A.M. helped me and my friends grow really close pretty fast.”

Peer mentors attend 12 weeks of training before working with a scholar and help develop the leadership programming based on the needs and feedback of their scholars.

Ryquan Harris ’20, a finance major from Baltimore, has mentored five students since his initial year as a scholar. “The relationships I’ve developed in T.E.A.M. have helped me feel comfortable with myself and also to branch out and help others,” Harris says. “I’ve been able to develop so much as a person. If I can do that for other people and help them succeed, I feel like I’m paying it forward.”