SGSC’s African-American Male Initiative focuses on mentor training

South Georgia State College is training a group of students to serve as mentors for the fall 2014 freshmen class, thanks to a grant from the University System of Georgia (USG).  Eleven Douglas Campus students are participating in the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI).  AAMI’s purpose is to recruit, retain, and graduate African-American male college students.

“These students (in the SGSC program) are leadership-quality gentlemen,” said Susanne Gibson, one of the coordinators of the Initiative at SGSC.  “They are all very enthusiastic and are so appreciative of the opportunities they will receive through this program.”

The students have already participated in several activities during the spring 2014 semester, including a session on proper etiquette and a leadership event at Albany State University.  The group has also read to elementary school students in the Coffee County School System.

Gibson said all of these activities lead up to a week of intense training prior to the start of the fall 2014 semester to fully prepare the students for their mentoring roles.

“This is the first cohort of students in the program.  The goal is for the program to re-perpetuate itself in the years to come as freshmen return to campus for their sophomore year to mentor the next freshman class,” she said.

In addition to Gibson, the students are led by Stanley Sinkfield, career counselor on SGSC’s Waycross Campus, and Daniel Nilsson, residential academic initiatives coordinator on the Douglas Campus.  Three faculty advisors are also a part of the Initiative’s leadership – Andrew DiNicola, instructor of English; Frank Holwiski, associate professor of psychology; and Frank Pridemore, assistant professor of political science.

Those students participating in the first AAMI cohort are Michael Bush of Columbus, Ga., Logan Carpenter of Claxton, Ga., Ethan Christopher of Byron, Ga., Quinton Cummings of Wadley, Ga., Aaron Esson of Dacula, Ga., Tavaris Gentry of Quitman, Ga., Chris Gibson of Roberta, Ga., Claret Iwuogo of Lawrenceville, Ga., Modou Jagne of Lithonia, Ga., Dontarrious Shaw of Fitzgerald, Ga., and Albert Williams of Valdosta, Ga.

“This is an amazing group of guys,” Sinkfield said.  “They have a lot of energy and so many talents.”

The USG’s AAMI project was initially launched in fall 2002.

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TOP PHOTO: Students participating in South Georgia State College’s African-American Male Initiative recently attended a leadership event at Albany State University.  (L-R): Claret Iwuogo, Aaron Esson, Modou Jagne, Chris Gibson, Albert Williams, Michael Bush, Quinton Cummings, and Logan Carpenter.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Students in the African-American Male Initiative at South Georgia State College participated in a session on proper etiquette as they prepare to mentor incoming freshmen during the fall 2014 semester.