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Mentor Handbook

Puente mock interview
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Would you be interested in making a difference in a student’s life, by becoming a CTN Puente Project Mentor? You could become a valuable team member of The CTN Puente Project at Austin Community College!

Most CTN Puente Mentors are professionals who have traversed the hills and valleys of higher education. Evaluations of Puente students show that they are succeeding academically; they state that their mentors have helped them achieve success. If you are interested please send an email to or call 512-223-7953.


The mentoring component is crucial in helping students begin to form a “network” of supportive individuals who will help them through their first year of college. Many Puentistas are the first in their families to attend college, and meet with a professional from the community who has gone through the same process and is a helpful guide. Mentors also serve as a valuable “voice” that is often able to help students see the “bigger picture” when they are struggling the most. Recruiting mentors, matching them with students and helping foster a unique relationship can be challenging; consequently, you will find the following information in this section:

Who are Mentors?

Mentors are excellent listeners; people who want to make a difference in a student’s life. Mentors provide support and friendship and are role models for students. Mentors can share with students about their own mentor and how they were helped.


  • Meet with students at the RVS Campus, during the activities for CTN Puente ACC (see calendar of events).
  • Provide resources for students’ writing assignments and encourage questions.
  • Assist students in obtaining scholarships and internships.
  • Provide students with ideas they can use in their future to network with other professionals as students move through their academic careers.
  • Help students set goals.
  • Share ideas about career planning.

Mentors do not:

  • Give or lend money to a student.
  • Try to become a father or mother figure.
  • Discuss issues that might be uncomfortable for the student.
  • “Lecture” a student.
  • Criticize students’ behavior, style or religious beliefs.
  • Impose personal or political values on the student.
  • Date a student.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often does a mentor meet with his/her mentee?
These meetings are scheduled once per month during a semester, prepared by the CTN Puente Mentor Coordinator. The sessions usually last from 1 hour to 1.5 hours. Mentors will likely spend 6 to 8 hours per semester.

What is the time commitment?
We ask mentors to commit for a period of two consecutive semesters, beginning in the fall.

How is the matching done?
The mentor coordinator will match mentors with students’ similar background and interests using information found in the mentor/mentee profile forms. It is important that both, mentor and mentee feel comfortable with each other.

What should I do in the event that I couldn’t continue mentoring?
If you cannot continue mentoring, it is important to notify the CTN Puente Coordinator as soon as possible. You need to inform of this to your mentee as well.

Who do I notify if I am not able to attend a meeting, or if I have some issues or concerns?
For any questions or concerns related to the mentoring aspect of CTN Puente Project, contact:
Alejandra Polcik
CTN Puente Mentor Coordinator

CTN Puente Faculty and Staff

Dr. Richard Armenta
Associate Vice President, Student Success
Puente Director
Highland Business Center

Alejandra Polcik
Puente Project Coordinator
Highland Business Center

Olga Eckert
Specialist, Advising and Recruiter
Riverside Campus

Laurie Buchholz
Professor of English
South Austin Campus

Virginia (Allegra) Villarreal-Disraeli
Northridge Campus, Room 4106

Diana Hernandez-Quinonez
SAC Advisor Rm-1107
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