By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) STAR Center’s main priority is the students.
The CAS STAR Center offers assistance in changing a major, building class schedules, adding or dropping classes, or transferring schools. The Director, Shari Evans, the office’s advisors Monica Faria and Romayne Grace, and the peer mentors work hard each day to make students success at the top of the list.
The center opened in December of 2014 and has been readily available since then. Whether you need some guidance in your major, in need of a quiet place to do your homework, or even just want to stop by and say hi, the center has an open door and welcomes anyone to drop in, call, or send the center an email.
Students can even receive an array of advice on academic experience from time management, the honors program, to internships, experiential learning, and studying abroad.
Maybe you want to double major or minor, or just need to decide on a major, whatever it is, the office can help answer any questions you may have. The positive energy in the room makes advisors love coming in to help students each day.
“Just coming in everyday and working with the students, peer mentors and faculty, not knowing what is going on but knowing that I am going to help someone and make a difference,” said academic advisor Monica Faria.
“The student’s energy is awesome and being able to share in that experience and their growth and watch them hit all their strides is so rewarding.”
Senior psychology major and peer mentor Malinthi Fernando believes the center has helped her in multiple ways.
“The STAR Center helped me a lot when I transitioned from a biochemistry major to a psychology major,” said Fernando proudly.
“I’ve talked to both Monica and Romayne since I was a freshman, and they guided me through the transition. They helped me realize what I truly wanted as my outcome and gave me the confidence necessary to eventually reach that goal.”
Not many students are aware of the resources that are available to them and Fernando believes this is one of a kind.
“This resource is absolutely essential for students, especially those who are unhappy or just need some guidance in their major,” said Fernando. “Every student should take the opportunity to come in and go over their course track and get advice from all of the peer mentors as well as the advisors.”
Senior pre-med and biology major and peer mentor Lance Rufino feels the center has helped him tremendously in another area.
“The STAR Center has helped me further in my major by helping me develop the required time management and study skills in order to achieve the grades I need in my classes, and to stay on par with what is expected from a pre-med student applicant.”
The center works hard to teach students the tools in which time management can be achieved by all.
“This is essential because in order to be successful in your academic career, without proper time management skills and study skills getting work done efficiently will be difficult,” said Rufino.
Some students go there on a daily basis and have said that it has transformed them.
“The STAR Center has definitely changed my life for the better in various ways, such as time management, dedication and non-procrastination” said Senior biology major Maxime Castor. “[They] have a great vibe that not only makes you focus but interact with studious people.”
According to Fernando, seeing student growth is one of the most rewarding parts of the job and students can be assured that they are in good hands.
“This is my first semester working there and I can already see the change in attitude some students have,” said Fernando. “At first students, especially those on probation, may feel like giving up and constantly undermining their true academic ability.”
She also claims community building to be one of the benefits when visitng the STAR Center.
“It’s so [exhilarating] to see the moment when it clicks within a student that they will graduate. It’s nice to see students repeatedly come in to study or even just talk because there’s a great sense of community in that one room,” said Fernando. “I hope more students take advantage of the great work Monica and Romayne do for students.”
You can visit any one of the advisors and peer mentors Monday through Friday in LARTS 114 to see all that the STAR Center can do in making your UMass Dartmouth experience a memorable one.