Orientation Leaders Welcome Incoming Students to Dominican

It was love at first sight for nursing major Ynez Rodriguez ’20 when she stepped foot on the Dominican campus. She decided then and there this close-knit community in Northern California was just the right fit for someone wanting to experience life beyond Southern California.

“I wanted to broaden my horizons and move out of SoCal, but my parents wanted me to stay close to home,” recalls Ynez, who attended Immaculate Heart High School in Los Feliz. “My counselor suggested that I look at Dominican. It had the majors I was interested in, it was in a great area, and it was far but not too far from home.”

The campus tour sealed the deal for Ynez and her parents.

“My tour guide was from SoCal and gave me really good advice about choosing a college and about choosing Dominican. The people in the nursing department also were great. This made me and my parents feel really comfortable and welcome.”

Adrian Embry ’20 is a nursing major from El Camino High School out of South San Francisco. Dominican was his top choice. He was inspired to come here by a high school friend, Cameron, who also attends Dominican as a nursing student.

The campus tour also won Adrian over.

“When I came to Dominican, the tour was very welcoming. It feels like a neighborhood within a neighborhood,” he says.

Other deciding factor was the diversity of students on campus. “It was a very unique quality that drew me to Dominican,” says Adrian, who also serves as a Student Ambassador with the Admissions Department and as Treasurer of the Kapamilya Club.

Now, both Ynez and Adrian want to extend the welcome mat to incoming students. Both were serving as Orientation Leaders when students arrived on campus August 22 for orientation. Showing students how to get involved with the campus community is a priority for both Ynez and Adrian.

“The first year you spend at a university is a very transitional time,” Adrian says. “College is a re-set button. That first year is kind of like a limbo for a lot of people. Once they figure it out it’s really great to see what type of direction they take to go for first years to leaders of the school.”

Ynez recalls her three-day orientation as an “incredible experience.”

“My two orientation leaders were the best,” Ynez recalls. “One was a sophomore who served as a mentor to me. She was just a year ahead of me in the nursing program and was always there to listen and to give advice.”

This relationship with her former orientation leader inspired Ynez to also serve as a campus Peer Mentor.

This year, 31 undergraduates will serve as peer mentors, 12 of whom will be co-facilitating Dominican’s Mastering College classes. The others will be mentoring students 1:1 outside of the classroom.

Dominican’s peer mentors are part of a larger network of support designed by the University’s Integrative Coaching program to ease the transition to college and ensure all students establish meaningful connections across campus and in the greater community.  The network also includes faculty and alumni mentors; academic advisors; career services staff; and integrative coaches – specially trained members of staff who will guide new students toward the many academic, social, and career resources available at Dominican. The goal is to make sure that all new students are connected and involved from day one.

 “College can be a little daunting the first year,” Ynez says. “I was one of the first to go to college in my family, and I had a lot of questions but did not know who to ask. I am happy to become a resource to new students who will have similar questions.”

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