Derek Young BS’18 grew up in a town with just nine stoplights. And when he came to study biology at the U, the number of students was more than three times the population of his hometown, Price, Utah. While he was excited to be around other people who were passionate about learning, and he liked that there was a lot more to do, he found it difficult to navigate a much larger campus and city, he says.
“When I first moved here, I didn’t know anyone,” says Young. When he heard about a social gathering for transfer students, he decided to check it out, and that’s where he met Student Success Advocate Tramaine Jones.
Student Success Advocates help students connect to resources on campus and beyond. Whether it’s scholarships, job opportunities, or finding a sense of belonging, the advocates are a front-line resource for students, Jones says. They also can help in crisis situations, such as housing or food emergencies. “It’s important for us to meet students where they’re at, wherever that may be,” Jones says.
“For me, the biggest thing was to have someone to talk to, someone to help me navigate campus,” says Young. “Tramaine told me about events that were coming up and ways to get involved.”
Young graduated in May, and he’s applied to pharmacy schools and hopes to eventually work in his hometown hospital.
“Without Tramaine, my college experience would have been: go to school and go home. I wouldn’t have gotten as involved in school life as I did.”