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LINKS Class of 2023

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LINKS Pre-Matriculation program welcomes 2023 class to campus

More than 400 first-year multicultural and disproportionately underrepresented students join campus community

More than 400 LINKS students (aka LINKEES) and 90 peer mentors participated in the annual LINKS Pre-Matriculation program, which was hosted by The Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR) on Aug. 22-23.

Now in its 35th year, LINKS is a retention, enrichment and support program for first-year multicultural and disproportionately underrepresented students. The program assists LINKEES in their transition from high school to college by making them aware of the available university resources, services and offices available to them.

Alison Moore, OMSAR's assistant director for peer mentoring programs, said last year’s LINKS class compiled the highest GPA during the past seven years.

“Last year’s LINKEES compiled a 3.037 GPA and I’m hoping that this year’s class can do even better,” Moore said. “I’m hoping they can break the 3.1 barrier.”

This year’s program began on Thursday when the class of 2023 moved into their residence hall rooms and attended the University Welcome, where they were addressed by President Dr. M. Duane Nellis, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Chaden Djalali and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gigi Secuban.

Dr. Chris Fowler, OMSAR’s associate director for critical and underserved student success, also informed the LINKEES about the services that OMSAR and the other Office for Diversity and Inclusion offices can provide to them.

Thursday afternoon’s schedule featured a two-hour “Getting to Know your LINKEES” session, where each student met their assigned peer mentor for the first time.

On Friday, the OMSAR staff hosted four student enrichment sessions for the first time:

  • The “Being Black in College Student Success Panel,” addressed important issues that black students often face in college. It was moderated by OMSAR’s Vanessa Morgan, coordinator for multicultural advising and African American student success.
  • The “Appalachian and Commuter Student Success Panel” was a discussion about the many programs the University has in place to support students from Appalachia and those who commute from home. It was moderated by Tiffany Arnold, lecturer in the Appalachian Rural Health Institute.
  • The “Becoming a Global Citizen Study Abroad Panel” was a discussion about the many benefits that traveling abroad can provide students and how they can secure funding for a study abroad experience. It was moderated by Moore and Charita King, senior global program coordinator in The Office of Global Opportunities.
  • The “Finding Meaningful Workshops and Community Service Panel” let the LINKEES know about the many great volunteer opportunities in Athens and the surrounding community. It was hosted by Lisa Flowers-Clements, OMSAR's assistant director of academic support and advising, and Barb Harrison, assistant director for off-campus living.


Moore said the first-year sessions focused on four themes that the students will hear more about during the academic year.

“These sessions were a little sampling of the topics that are important to OMSAR and the scholars,” Moore said.

At noon on Friday, the LINKEES, peer mentors and OMSAR staff posed for the class of 2023 photo on College Green before breaking for lunch. The LINKEES ended Pre-Matriculation by fall planning with their peer mentors, where they scheduled one-on-one meetings and study sessions. The peer mentors also taught the LINKEES how to best use important University programs such as Blackboard, BobcatConnect, My Ohio Portal, WellTrack, Handshake and others.

“Everything went smooth during the two days and our staff did a great job with the planning,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to another great year.”

For more information about LINKS, visit http://www.ohio.edu/omsar.

What the LINKEES and peer mentors were saying:

Junior Iris Edmondson, a second-year LINKS peer mentor from Columbus, Ohio, said she wanted to be a peer mentor because her peer mentor had a big impact on her and was someone she could turn to with questions. 

“It’s been fun,” Edmondson said. “I’m excited to meet everyone and we’re going to do a walking tour later. I have four students this year and all of them are games and animation majors like me and three of my LINKEES from last year are peer mentors this year, so I’m also happy about that.”

Macy Wright, a freshman from Vincent, Ohio, said the Pre-Matriculation helped her meet new people and venture out of her residence hall room.

“It’s helped me get out of my shell and start meeting people and making friends,” Wright said. “It’s helping me get acclimated to college.”

Rhys Carr, a freshman musical theater major from Athens, Ohio, said LINKS allowed him to be around people who will help him in the future.

“The ‘Being Black in College’ breakout session really helped me today and I’m looking forward to the ‘Being Black in College’ series of events later this year,” Carr said. “I’m also looking forward to the peer mentoring sessions.”

Junior Tyler Johnson, a second-year peer mentor from Cleveland, Ohio, said he had a good relationship with his peer mentor as a freshman and that inspired him to become a peer mentor.

“My peer mentor helped me get integrated into college and get used to this lifestyle, so I wanted to do the same thing for my students,” Johnson said. “One of my end goals is to become a teacher, so I want to help the young students get to where they want to be and help them make this college transition as smooth as possible. Building these relationships allows me to see them grow over the years and that is amazing.”