Hilda Escalera

Linfield College
Hilda Escalera
Mentoring Program Coordinator
Community Engagement and Service
AmeriCorps Retention Project 

Hilda developed and strengthened long-term partnerships between Linfield College and McMinnville middle schools and high schools. This engaged Linfield students as mentors to 8th-12th grade, at-risk youth in McMinnville, Oregon.

Hilda's work with the mentor program helped improve the college aspirations of McMinnville youth through powerful relationships and civic engagement strategies. Of the mentees who responded to a survey, prior to mentoring, 67% reported a positive outlook on their future education. However, after participating in the program, 80% had a positive outlook on their future education. Through their relationships with Linfield College student mentors, mentees were supported to explore the possibility of college and build a college-going culture.

As a result, at-risk youth strengthened their college-going aspirations. In addition, college student mentors expressed that they felt re-engaged in their own college experience. Hilda's work focused on recruiting Latino mentors, who have a lower retention rate than Asian and white students at Linfield. By participating in the program, mentors found a support network of like-minded peers and most are expected to mentor again in the fall. Next year, the program looks forward to evaluating its impact on college student success and retention.

In just one year, Hilda built a complex and strong program. Jessica Wade, Director of Community Engagement and Service said, “I’ve been very impressed by Hilda’s ability to establish such stellar rapport with so many students. She has served as a terrific mentor to our own group of mentors. I would like to thank Hilda for all of the ownership that she has taken of this program and all of the skills and experience that she has contributed."