Xavier Jobe
Dominican University
ACI Peer Mentoring Program

After graduating from Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, Illinois, Xavier Jobe expected to complete his bachelor’s degree at another Chicago-area college. Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, offered more scholarship support than other schools, and Jobe accepted its offer to attend – ironically, the same school his parents attended when it was known as Rosary College.

Now a junior biology major, Jobe is a mentor to incoming first-generation freshmen in ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program at Dominican. Because of his interest in the Black Student Union and The Village, a leadership program at the university, Jobe was recommended as a mentor in the program. “I’ve been through a lot in life,” he says. “I bring knowledge about how to pick yourself back up when you hit rock bottom, to be a better person and not disappoint the people around you — because I did all that before.”

Since high school, Jobe says he has become a better person. “I’m more open, sharing my feelings and emotions. I pay attention more. I’m more understanding in situations, and I’m trying to just learn. Basically, that’s the most important thing for me right now. Just learn and experience everything,” he says.

Jobe says the Peer Mentoring Program has taught him a lot, experience he shares with mentees. It helps first-generation, low-income college students get through their first year in college and return to continue towards their degrees, Jobe says. “This is basically a gateway to help kids get through college and complete college. The mentoring program can help you open up the flood gates to know more and to know more people,” he says.

As for himself, Jobe isn’t certain what he’d like to do with this biology major, however, he is thinking about a career as an orthodontist, which means another year before graduation and up to three years of dental school. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to open up my own practice afterwards. Right now, that’s the main goal,” he says.

Tia Dukes
North Central College
ACI Peer Mentoring Program

When Tia Dukes first came to North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, she knew that there was a lot to learn about being a college student. A first-generation student from West Chicago, Illinois, Dukes was home-schooled and says she was unaware of some things when she first entered college.

“There were so many things I didn’t know,” she says. “For example, I didn’t realize how important an internship is because no one had ever talked to me about an internship before.” Much has happened since. Now a senior, Dukes, an organizational communication major, would like to work in a higher education career, possibly in a multicultural affairs or study-abroad program.

Dukes describes herself as a dreamer and adventurer. One reason why she went to North Central College is so she could study abroad, which she did in South Korea for a year. That experience was a confidence booster for Dukes which she shares as a mentor to freshmen in ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program at North Central College. “I think a skill of mine is to encourage people and empower them to be the best version of themselves, and that’s what I’m able to bring to the Peer Mentoring Program,” she says.

As a college student, Dukes says she learned about how to interact with people and how to understand people, helpful experience as she enters the workforce. “At a small school like North Central you kind of know everyone,” she says. “I’ve gained a more compassion and understanding of people who are different from me. That’s something that is very important for especially for a first-generation student to understand. At North Central College, you’re going to learn how to interact with people, and you should take advantage of that.”

Dukes encourages donors to give to the Peer Mentoring Program, because she says one person’s gift can make a big difference for students who are first-generation and from low-income families.  “It’s one scholarship that allowed me to commute from home and continue to go to this school,” she says. “It’s donors who give for scholarships like this that makes all the difference in the world.”

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