Outstanding Mentor Award

Beginning in 2021, the Office of Academic Programs is awarding the Outstanding FYP Mentor award to an FYP Mentor who has gone above and beyond in their service to the program. The award will typically go to an FYP Mentor who has served for multiple years and shown extraordinary commitment to their student and their position. The award comes with a full-page feature on the student, as well as a $500 prize. It is the OAP's extreme pleasure to present this innaugural Outstanding FYP Mentor Award to Alexia Preston.

Below are some words from Alexia:

Alexia Preston

"Kia Ora! I’m Alexia Preston, a senior Psychology major from Auckland, New Zealand. 

My first year course had an immense impact on my experience at Colorado College. Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, I knew that coming to college in the US was going to be a drastic transition. My first class truly brought me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to think in new and divergent ways, and adapting to my new social and athletic life only added to the valence of the transition. I was pushed very quickly to connect with on-campus resources, find new social groups, a working rhythm, identify real-world problems, and use creative tools to solve them. This experience ignited my passion to give back to the first-year experience - to help incoming students connect with each other, with on-campus resources, and with design thinking. Since, I have been uniquely driven to empower incoming students with the tools to identify meaningful problems, generate solutions, and instigate positive impact.
Over the course of my CC career, I have worked closely with four different first-year courses (that’s almost 100 students!). In my first year of mentorship, I created and facilitated a 3-day design sprint focused on solving local problems for the Colorado Springs Startup Week, which my entire mentee class (Professor Dan Johnson’s Economics course) participated in. I have also given course presentations on my creative journey. Recently, I created and facilitated a first-of-its-kind ‘Design Infusion,’ which is a problem-focused, department-relevant series of design thinking workshops, with Professor John Mann’s Marketing first-year course. The students remarked how they would carry and utilize the tools they learned in these workshops throughout their CC career and beyond – on each upcoming assignment, paper, and when identifying and solving real-world problems. 

Throughout my four years of mentorship, I have enjoyed fostering deep connections with my mentees, by meeting one on one over a coffee, holding office hours, and hosting FYP events like ice cream sundae nights, always with the majority of my mentees taking part. I love keeping in touch with my mentees, and find it particularly impactful to watch them grow throughout their time at CC. 

The First-Year Program is an incredible framework of support for incoming first year students. It empowers both mentees to guide first-years and share their own passions, and incoming students to connect with the resources they need for a meaningful time at CC, deepening their sense of place. A huge thank you to all that have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the development of this program. I am honored to receive this inaugural award!" 

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