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VU mentor earns national award

A Victoria University student from Daylesford has been recognised as one of Australia’s best new peer mentors for her outstanding efforts volunteering to help struggling classmates.

Samantha Mackley, 21, a second-year Bachelor of Marketing student, was named outstanding new leader by the National Centre for Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) for her work mentoring accounting students in weekly face-to-face and on-line study sessions over the past year.

Ironically, Samantha first heard about VU’s PASS program when she looked for extra accounting help herself in her first year. After receiving a High Distinction in the subject at year-end, she decided to train as a peer mentor as a way of giving back to the program.

“My experiences on the other side helped me relate better to the students I now mentor,” she said.

Peer mentoring coordinator Dr Gill Best said Samantha – and VU’s other 15 PASS mentors – offer an invaluable service to students requiring a little extra help in courses that students had found difficulties with in the past.

“This achievement is a very exciting moment in the evolution of student peer mentoring at VU, and a testament to our students’ work,” she said.

Samantha said she realised she needed to tailor her study sessions to her students’ various learning styles, as some were mature-aged, some liked working in teams, and some were shy. She said it is crucial for mentors to develop interactive activities to reinforce theories.

“The motto we incorporate into our training and sessions is: ‘tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.’”

VU first piloted the PASS peer mentoring program in 1998. Working in teams, students selected as mentors receive training and can get academic credit for their mentoring roles. They meet weekly with a subject coordinator to feed back how their students are doing. Last year, PASS organisers developed an awards program to acknowledge the work of mentors.

Samantha’s award was judged at the PASS International Centre at the University of Missouri in the USA. It was based on her written application documenting how her role affects students’ learning.

Samantha Mackley is available for interview on 0417 530 370.

A photo of Samantha with her award is available.

Media contact:

Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,

Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph:  (03)9919 5487; mobile:  0403 556 001

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