Navigating Success: Complete Your Course
We serve as a GPS for Success – offering students an opportunity to learn and apply skills needed to be successful in college and career. The project works to increase the university’s retention and graduation rates through providing holistic support services. From freshmen to senior year, selected participants receive assistance with determining a major, developing a career plan, and cultivating cultural sensitivity.
Okra Scholars is a First in the World project supported by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.
Participants receive services such as:
- study skills workshops
- academic counseling
- collaborative learning lab
- learning community groups
- faculty mentors
- peer mentors
- mock interviews
- on-campus and off-campus employment
- and much more.
Our resource page consists of helpful links to services, tools, and guides for academic success, career development, and cultural competency.
Each fall, the Okra Scholars selects a specific number of first-time freshmen to participate in the project. These students receive holistic support services from freshmen to senior year.
Participants commit to academic achievement, career development and cultural competency. Above all, participants commit to completing their college degree in a timely manner. In few words, participants make “A Commitment to Completion.”
Spring 2015 Cohort: Tristan Ainsworth, Lynn Armon, Jaelin Bankhead, Tykia Barber, Eurekia Beasley, Jarod Bethel, Denzell Bleedlove, Tia Brown, Ben Buckhalter, Talauntra Bullock, Teneal Colbert, Chance Cooper, Aarion Edwards, LaDarrien Evans, Tiffany Ezekiel, Ladarius Gates, Chaketha Gilliam, Paige Griffin, Keuna Hodges, Diamond Jackson, Ashley Keller, Skylar Khen, Ahmad Lewis, Michael Long, Jacob Ludlam, Amanda Lutz, Reckeita Marsalis, Brittney McClendon, Lineshia Miller, LaQuita Minor, Kimberly Molina, David Mullen, Quaneisha Murray, Greg Peacock, Tylesha Price, Jordan Pullen, Dana Rico, Angelica Rivers, Brenesha Smith, Bryson Stubbs, Matthew Talbert, Maggie Turner, Madison Wahlston, Taylor Whatley, Sydnee Williams, Terry Winston, Taylor Wyatt
Mentors are paired with a small cohort of students who test similarly on the Strong Interest Inventory. Each mentor stays with his/her particular group of students freshman through senior year, providing them with a consistent source of guidance regardless of changes in degree choice.
Lynn Byrd, Instructor – Computer Information Systems
Lacey Fitts, Instructor – Science Education
Severine Groh, Assistant Professor – Biology
Rebecca Hochradel, Chair/Associate Professor – Mgt/Mkt/Business Administration
Jonathan Westfall, Assistant Professor – Psychology
Ellen Green, Chair/Associate Professor – Biological Sciences
Brett Oleis, Classroom & Flight Instructor – Commercial Aviation
Chad Payton, Assistant Professor – Music
AHM Reza, Assistant Professor – Biology
Lisa Sandifer, Instructor – Accountancy
Tom Brady, Chair/Professor – Teacher Education, Leadership & Research
Kelvin Davis, Director – Student Business Services
Tricia Killebrew, Division Coordinator – Student Success Center
Tanya McKinney, Associate Professor – Biology
Michaela Merryday, Associate Professor – Art
Wendolyn Stevens, Recruitment/Marketing Coordinator – Graduate & Continuing Studies
Jamie Dahman, Assistant Professor – Music
Nakikke Johnson, Student Relations Specialist – Career Services
Emily Jones, University Archivist/Library Professor – Archives and Museums
Matt Jones, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations– Athletics
Mary Bess Pannel, Assistant Professor – Counselor Education
Jeanna Wilkes, Coordinator of Graduate Studies and Admissions – Graduate & Continuing Studies
Peer Mentors give a student’s point of view of college life and promote campus engagement for student success!
Individuals interested in becoming a Peer Mentor should meet the following qualifications: (1) Be an active Okra Scholar, (2) Meet and maintain an 2.5 GPA, and (3) Be knowledgeable of DSU student services and campus resources.
Visit the Okra Scholars’ office for more information.
Okra Scholars interested in becoming Peer Mentors may access the online application here: