Spotlight: Peer Mentor & Peer Lead, Andres Villanueva

December 4, 2014

Senior, Andres Villanueva, is a music education major and will be graduating in less than a month. He served as a mentor in fall 2013 and is currently a peer lead.

 

As an EOP student, he learned about the program through an e-mail from the EOP office. He had never heard of the program prior, but expressed immediate interest because of his desire to help students.

 

He became involved  because he wanted to gain mentoring experience. He also enjoyed the enthusiasm Peer Mentorship Coordinator, Adriana Garcia, had about the program during his interview. Garcia expressed mutual admiration for Villanueva.

 

“What intrigued me about him is that he has ten classes to attend and perform in. I saw his passion for music and how he wants to pass on his love to other generations,”said Garcia.

 

Garcia feels that being a peer lead has definitely helped Villanueva develop skills for his future goal of teaching music.

 

The percussionist has had other experience with teaching students of all ages. He is currently working with the local Monroe High School marching band.

 

“I wanted more experience with an older group, high school students and college freshmen because I am used to working with younger elementary and middle school children. I want to teach music specifically to younger students, but it is important to be able to teach all levels,”said Villanueva.

 

He shares that although his experience within the program has been time-consuming, it has been well worth the effort. Villanueva believes that all freshmen deserve the best information and  resources upon entering CSUN.

 

“As an EOP student, I received a lot of resources that most students did not. I realized a lot of students don’t know about many resources, and through Building Connections for Success I am able to show them.”

 

Villanueva notes that the Peer Mentorship Program, which is part of the Building Connections for Success Program, allows for self exploration, while introducing them to the necessary resources.

 

“BCFS is the type of resource that you would want all freshmen to know about and utilize. I come from a low-income community, and I have realized that many students are not given the knowledge they need to succeed.”

 

He has built strong relationships with the students he assists as well as with his fellow peer mentors.

 

“The students see me around campus still and they get excited. I’ve gained an even better relationship with my students this semester. I let them know that I am here not only as a mentor, but as a friend.

 

In the future, Villanueva sees himself bringing the skills he has learned as a mentor with him into his teaching career. He feels his participation in the program has broadened his skill set immensely. He knows that as he enters the field of music education, he will especially be at an advantage with all of his experience communicating with the students.