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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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RISE program fosters lasting connections and friendships

RISE program fosters lasting connections and friendships


Initiated six years ago, the Resources Inspiring Student Excellence, or RISE, is a program focused on acclimating freshman students to college life. I found out about the RISE program when I first visited the James Farmer Multicultural Center and I saw that there were applications and promptly filled one out.

In the application you are allowed to rate aspects of your college life such as life goals, major, religion and with that you are paired with a student who has similarities. For me, the most important part was having a mentor with the same major.

When I met Lilian Perez, my assigned mentor, for the first time, I did not realize I was going to be sharing a journey with her throughout my time at the University of Mary Washington.

Today, as a senior undergraduate myself, I feel like I am in her shoes. She was a biology major who helped shape my path and in return, I wanted to do the same for other peers.

To me, RISE is like a family. With them, I have visited downtown Fredericksburg, gone on trips to Washington D.C., attended museums where I attempted to broadcast a weather channel and bowling and watched a baseball game.

When I was a student in the mentor program I went to Sweet Frog with Perez, along with other students involved in the program. There we would chat about life and eat our fro-yo together.

Through these activities mentors foster lasting friendships.

“When I think of the word ‘mentor,’ I think of someone that I look up to and it’s a person who inspires you and challenges you too in a great extent,” said senior RISE mentor Mariam Khan. “It’s someone who gives you more perspective on a certain thing and is a guide for you.”

To all my mentors throughout my life, and especially my RISE mentor, I would like to say, “Thank you.” Further, my advice to freshman is to make strong bonds with your peers because it will help make your time at UMW worthwhile. Whether that’s your roommate, your professor, or other members of the community, make sure they help you every step of the way.