Twenty five Virginia Tech students are on a special mission this summer.

In the true spirit of the university’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), these students are serving as peer mentors with the Virginia Tech Summer Academy. As such, the peer mentors will begin arriving back on campus this week to prepare for the arrival of the students participating in the 2016 Summer Academy program.

Summer Academy is a six-week program that overlays the Summer II semester, providing incoming freshman and transfer students the opportunity to get a sneak peek of college life. The students live in the residence halls, earn course credits through customized tracks, tap into academic resources, and also make connections with fellow students, faculty, and peer mentors.

Summer Academy peer mentor Charlie Krawczel
Summer Academy peer mentor Charlie Krawczel

For Charlie Krawczel, of Alexandria, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in interior design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Summer Academy became her home away from home. “At first, I was super nervous, but my peer mentor and track students were really welcoming. My classes helped me to decide whether my major was right for me, and so far, it is. Since I was able to build a good foundation through Summer Academy, I want to help this year’s incoming freshmen and transfers to build theirs and help their transition to a new school be a little bit easier.”

Like Krawczel, many of the current peer mentors had such a transformative experience with Summer Academy that they wanted to give back. Prior to leaving for the summer, the Summer Academy Office caught up with the peer mentors to tell us more about what led them to be involved. Read more about these peer mentors giving back.

Each peer mentor goes through an application and interview process facilitated by the Division of Student Affairs and then come together as a group before the end of the spring semester to get to know one another before regrouping in June for training. Some of the planned events include a cookout on July 4, as well as Hokie Camp, a three-day orientation with team-building exercises and activities that sets the tone for the close-knit family environment Summer Academy exemplifies. Listen to some Hokie Camp veterans talk about their Hokie Camp takeaways and experiences.

The peer mentors are involved in the academic and social aspects of Summer Academy, including assisting with the specialized tracks each student enrolls in, as well as planning events for the students to get familiar with Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and the greater New River Valley.

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