Neechiwaken - peer mentoring: supporting aboriginal students in academic community
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This study examined the self-reported perceptions of post-secondary Aboriginal students who were part of a peer mentoring relationship in the Promoting Aboriginal Community Together (PACT) program at the University of Manitoba. PACT supports Aboriginal students transitioning into university life by providing participants with social and academic development, activities, as well as the opportunity to be mentored by an upper-level Aboriginal student. This study asked whether their participation helped them persist in their academic goals and whether peer mentoring as an engagement strategy affects the sense of belonging to the university. The qualitative research design of this phenomenological study permitted a probing of the interview data documenting the experiences of the ten participants, Aboriginal students who had participated in PACT. Among the ways in which participants benefitted from PACT was expressed in themes such as: opportunity to participate in community with other Aboriginal students, networking, overcoming shyness, and getting academic advice.