This school year, NKU organized a new program to help and support students called “Student Pilots.”
Before the fall semester, “the state of Kentucky put out a number of grant proposals looking to fund institutions that would start up some student success programs,” said Ryan Padgett, who oversees the Student Pilots program.
“The proposal for the program began by looking at the feedback from students and focusing on what they thought would help them better achieve their goals,” said Padgett. The feedback from students showed they wanted a program where students could go and seek help from their peers rather than a professor, faculty member or advisor.
Students can sometimes feel intimidated to talk to a faculty member or a staff member about things and this program was a way to provide students with an outlet to talk to their peers rather than professors.
Student Pilots is a resource in the Norse Advising center where, according to Padgett, “any student at any time could meet with a peer and chat about anything. They could talk about anything as simple as asking where something is located, how to join organizations or studying tips.”
When NKU started to organize the program, they needed people who are “seasoned students”—students who know the campus, are at least a junior and ready to help the peers that are seeking help.
Arah Samuels, a fifth-year music education major, said that with her knowledge of the campus and multiple leadership positions that she has held over the years at NKU, she was ready to apply for the position. After receiving the email to apply over the summer, she thought to herself, “I’m very knowledgeable about this campus and I want to see students succeed as much as I can; I’m going to apply for this!”
Another Student Pilot, Elizabeth Osifalujo, a fourth-year psychology major, said that being a Student Pilot is so much more than the title.
“Being a student pilot means being there to talk with students and having a conversation and I hold that dearly to me because I see it as one important aspect of being able to interact and connect with people,” Osifalujo said.
“I want to build trust with people, so they can become vulnerable with you and also be able to listen to you when you’re trying to connect them to resources on campus. For me, that’s what being a student pilot is, connecting with students and also being a resource for them.”
Although many students haven’t come through to experience the Student Pilots program because it is so new, Samuels and Osifalujo both agreed that it seems to be a big help to those who do come and talk to their peers.
“You can hear the same thing so many times from certain people, but it’s different hearing it from somebody who has either gone through the same struggle you’re going through or is currently going through the same struggle,” Samuels said. “Hearing it from a student’s mouth is different than hearing it from a faculty’s mouth because it’s a different day and age for students.”
Success is the number one goal for the Student Pilots program, and Osifalujo wants to let students know that success is at NKU.
“Success is no secret, it’s right here, open to everyone. So, we want people to be aware of it; you can be successful and you don’t have to make a bunch of mistakes to be successful. You can just need the right resources to achieve success,” Osifalujo said.