Peer Mentor Spotlight: Haidi Quintanilla

November 14, 2012

Peer Mentor Spotlight: Haidi Quintanilla

Building Connections for Success Runs In The Family

Sometimes your first, and often times most impactful, mentor can be found in your older siblings. For Haidi Quintanilla, 18, watching her older sister Johanna Quintanilla, 21, attend Cal State Northridge, earn her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and serve as a peer mentor in the Building Connections for Success program helped inspire her to pursue a degree in Child and Adolescent Development herself and become a peer mentor to first-year freshmen.

The Quintanilla sisters first discovered Building Connections for Success last year during academic advisement when Haidi was offered enrollment in a cohort-structured University 100 class and Johanna was selected to be a Peer Mentor to first-year freshmen in her class.

As a mentee last year, Haidi was paired with senior Isaura Cordova, who provided Haidi with additional support and guidance throughout her first year at Cal State Northridge.

“My experience last year was really good. Isaura really made a difference in my first year. She was always there when I needed her and was really helpful.  She helped me plan what classes I should take, and it made a huge impact on my college experience,” said Haidi.

Currently in her sophomore year, Haidi supports 10 mentees and conducts individual meetings, arranges academic activities and attends cultural events with her students. Haidi says having the additional responsibility of guiding freshmen in addition to her coursework has helped her stay balanced and learn time management skills.

Haidi says the experience has motivated her to excel in her studies and pursue graduate school.

“I have learned that all my mentees have big plans to go to graduate school. They inspire me to do my best because I want to be a role model to them.”

Having the experience of being a mentee last year and watch her sister mentor has given her the opportunity to learn what students expect as a mentee and how mentors can best support and guide underclassmen.

“As a mentee, I’ve learned that the program is very effective because I know how it helped me and my classmates. Now as a mentor, I love the experience even more because I know what they’re feeling and I get to help them and watch them grow. “

With a newfound confidence, Heidi plans to become more involved in Building Connections for Success and hopes to join the Outreach Ambassadors team giving college talks to low-income junior and senior high school students.

“Just being there for someone can make a big difference. I hope I can pass on what I’ve learned from Isaura and my sister to them to inspire them to be a mentor one day.”