COM former student mentors minorities at Stanford University

College of the Mainland graduate Andrew Edoimioya, fifth from left, mentors students at Stanford University with the Phoenix Scholars, pictured, a student group on campus.

Andrew Edoimioya has not yet graduated from Stanford University, but already he is recruiting students for higher education.

In a College of the Mainland dual credit English class, the former Clear Falls High School graduate first wondered what kept many of his peers from excelling academically.
 
He conducted a research project delving into the problem, and then created a website with tutorials for students who came from less-advantaged backgrounds than he.
 
“He was a leader in class,” recalled English professor Dalel Serda. “He created a really cool website (that) encouraged black students to do extracurricular tutorials online in the same way that athletes train.”
 
Once at Stanford University, he continued his quest to find causes for students dropping out before college – and a solution.
 
He joined the Phoenix Scholars, an organization that supports low-income, minority, foster and first-generation college students.
 
Its goal is "helping people get to college and realize what the importance of education is, especially minorities," Edoimioya explained. "We try to recruit as Stanford mentors people who are low-income or minorities as well."
 
During his freshman year, he worked to attract mentors to work one-on-one with students at nearby California high schools. This fall, in addition to mentoring a student he will lead a group of 12 mentor/mentee pairs.
 
The program assists high school students with the college application process, SAT preparation and financial aid applications.

"I'm looking forward to taking a bigger role as I grow," said Edoimioya. “Stanford is a place where people want to flesh out passions and do things if they can.”

While volunteering, playing club basketball and serving as a freshman intern for the High School Conference Committee to encourage high school students to come to college, he also excelled academically. An engineering major, he earned a 3.5 GPA in classes from physics to “How to Be a Public Intellectual.”
 
He felt the latter class built on discussions begun in COM English classes.

"English 1301 and 1302 that Ms. (Dalel) Serda taught were ... more challenging and thought-provoking than I thought they would be. In Ms. Serda's class we talked about a lot of issues in the world, what happiness is and how one can attain that, what education is and what it means to be educated,” said Edoimioya.
 
“They taught me how to think. It was a discussion-based class, a lot of reading, being able to talk about what you think about certain topics. The class prepared me for conversations I've had here.”

Serda continues to support him, he said, whether talking over coffee, proofing a paper or listening to his latest project.

"I consider her more of a mentor now,” Edoimioya explained. “She makes sure I'm OK. She's the person I can go to (with) educational or maybe not so educational things. She's a great person to talk to."
 
He is enjoying his brief respite this summer before diving into classes and Phoenix Scholars projects next year.
 
“I hope to stay in the (Phoenix Scholars) organization a lot and watch it have an impact on equal access (to education),” said Edoimioya. “(I want to) see people like me go to school, understand the importance of education and see how they can give back as well.”

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