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First-Year Student Mentoring Program

The First-Year Student Mentoring Program connects first-year students and faculty mentors in a dynamic mentoring relationship.

Students and faculty mentors meet in small groups outside of the class to discuss all aspects of life. Whether the discussion involves current events, how to be successful academically, scholarships, or where to find Norman's best pizza, students develop an important connection outside of class to faculty. 

Hugh Benson meets with students.

Learn More About The First-Year Student Mentoring Program

To sign-up for this program, students should discuss enrolling in UNIV 1210: Freshman Mentoring with their advisor. The program is offered at no cost to the student. UNIV 1210 is a non-credit, non-graded course.

Learn more!

Mentor Profiles


Dr. Boris Apanasov

Students interested in Math & All students

Dr. Boris Apanasov: Boris Apanasov joined OU as a full professor of Math in 1991. He is internationally known for his research in different areas of Mathematics. He has over 46 years of experience of Math research and teaching in Math Sci Res Institute in Berkeley/CA, Ohio State University, Royal Swedish, Finish and Russian Academies of Sciences, the most known European universities including Paris/France, Novosibirsk, and Moscow /Russia, Barcelona/Spain, Berlin, Bielefeld, and Bonn/Germany, Masaryk/Czech Republic; in Asia, he held distinguished positions in the most established scientific centers in India, Japan, China, and Korea; in Latin America, he used Brazil, Chile and Mexico government’s grants for collaborative research and international conferences. His international engagement is always with students: through the OU Study Abroad and College of Intern Studies, where he is an affiliated professor, through his Math books published around the world. He is author/editor of 12 books and over 120 articles. He is a part of the mentoring program since its establishment in 2003.

Fredd Carr

Dr. Fredrick Carr

Out of state student & Students interested in Meteorology

Dr. Fredrick Carr: Known as Professor Emeritus within the School of Meteorology here at the  University of Oklahoma. Dr. Carr has won numerous awards for his work in Meteorology, and his research interests are in synoptic, tropical and mesoscale meteorology, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and the use of new observing systems in diagnostic and numerical weather prediction. Dr. Carr has been a very committed professor to the mentoring program for many years. Highlights of his time with the program include many trips to the National Weather Center and the Wichita Mountain with her mentoring students. 

Jenel Cavazos

Dr. Jenel Cavazos

First generation students, Small town students & Students interested in Psychology

Dr. Jenel Cavazos: Dr. Jenel Cavazos is an Associate Professor and Master Teacher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. As the Introductory Psychology Program Coordinator, she teaches an average of 1500 students per year, supervises sections of PSY1113 taught by graduate students, and conducts a graduate mentor program for teaching. Her emphasis areas include curriculum development, the implementation of technology in the classroom, and program assessment. Her research focuses on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Introductory Psychology. She has received several university teaching awards and was named a College of Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellow for 2017-18. 

Dr. Jenel Cavazos is an Associate Professor and Master Teacher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. As the Introductory Psychology Program Coordinator, she teaches an average of 1500 students per year, supervises sections of PSY1113 taught by graduate students, and conducts a graduate mentor program for teaching.

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Adam Croom

Journalism students  Advertising studentss

Adam Croom: Adam Croom is a faculty member in the Strategic Communication area of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Croom also serves the university in a separate capacity as the Director of the Office of Digital Learning.

Croom teaches courses related to concept, strategy, print and web design, social media, and portfolio work. As an instructor, his aim is to support individual growth and self-actualization through an educational environment that is built on autonomy, trust, cooperation, participation, and self-directed learning. His courses are very hands-on and interactive. Social learning is his favored form of education while experimentation and discovery methods are also encouraged. He believes that his role as an instructor is to be a facilitator, assistant, and partner in the learning process. 

Croom completed his Masters at Pepperdine University where he studied education and learning technologies. His research focused on networked approaches to online learning in public relations design courses.

In 2012, Croom founded TEDxOU, an independently organized TED event dedicated to ideas worth spreading. The event produced more than 80+ TEDx Talks which have accumulated more than two million views in more than 120 countries worldwide. From 2012 through 2014, Croom was the Project Director for freedom.ou.edu, an online education platform dedicated to promoting civic education through talks related to citizenship, freedom, and the Constitution. He was named a Journal Record Innovator of the Year Honoree in 2013 and was recognized in 2014 as a Journal Record Achiever Under 40. 

He has served on numerous committees for national organizations including the Association of Public Land Grant Institutions (APLU), Online Learning Consortium (OLC), and the Commission on Innovation, Competiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP). Croom is also a former board member for Norman Next. At OU, he has served on the Provost Advisory Committee for Learning Technologies, Digital Initiative Working Group, United Way Steering Committee, and co-chaired of the Canvas Implementation Committee.

Croom is a proud alum of OU and the Gaylord College where he was heavily involved with OU Student Media, Gaylord Ambassadors, and the Center for the Creation Economic Wealth. Before returning to OU, Croom spent time in marketing and public relations roles focused on corporate engagement, technology transfer, and economic development. 

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Latino students, Chicano students & All students

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano: Robert Con Davis-Undiano is Executive Director of World Literature Today organization and is also the director of the Latinx Studies Program at OU. He is dedicated to innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and is a mentor and role model to Chicano and other minority students and faculty. Students credit him with changing their thinking, their attitudes, and their lives. Publishing in Chicano and American studies and literary criticism and theory, he is author, co-author, or editor of 12 books, including a textbook now in its fourth edition, and over 60 articles. He received the Rufus G. Hall Faculty Achievement Award in 1993 and the Kenneth E. Crook Annual Faculty Award in 1994, and The Sullivant Award for perceptivity in 2004. He has been faculty of the year several times for his work with the Latino fraternity and sorority on campus. He served as Dean of the OU Honor’s College from 2005-2009, and his most recent book Mestizos Come Home! Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity won the International Latino Book Award in 2018. In 2018, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. Robert Con Davis-Undiano is Executive Director of World Literature Today organization and is also the director of the Latinx Studies Program at OU. He is dedicated to innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and is a mentor and role model to Chicano and other minority students and faculty. Students credit him with changing their thinking, their attitudes, and their lives. Publishing in Chicano and American studies and literary criticism and theory, he is author, co-author, or editor of 12 books, including a textbook now in its fourth edition, and over 60 articles.

Dr. Eric Day

Dr. David Ebert

Engineering students

Dr. David Ebert: Dr. Evert is the Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships and Gallogly Chair in Engineering. Ebert performs research in visual analytics, human-computer teaming, advanced predictive analytics, human-guided intelligent data-driven policy and decision-making, volume rendering, illustrative visualization, and procedural abstraction of complex, massive data. As part of the University’s strategic plan, he will be tasked with standing up a new multidisciplinary OU Center of Excellence for research in data science. The Institute will build and expand on the research excellence in data science already in place at the university to bring the power of methods such artificial intelligence and machine learning, data visualization, and other emerging tools of the digital era to important problems with high social impact. 

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Dr. Kelly Feille

Education students, Special Education students, & Any students

Dr. Kelly Feille: Dr. Kelly Feille is an assistant professor of science education in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Feille has worked in public education teaching science in grades Pre-K through sixth. At the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Feille continues her passion for science education through her work with pre-service elementary teachers. She seeks to ensure that her students leave the University of Oklahoma with the confidence and tools to teach science in ways that engage students to ask important questions, think critically, and collect, evaluate, and argue from evidence. Her research focuses on the development of elementary science teachers and in particular how to encourage the development of schoolyard pedagogy, which takes advantage of the learning moments in and out of the traditional classroom.

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Dr. George “Lynn” Franklin

Creative Media Production students

Dr. George “Lynn” Franklin: George Lynn Franklin is a member of the broadcasting and electronic media faculty at Gaylord College. He teaches such courses as Introduction to Video Production, Mass Media Practicum, and Audio Production as well as courses with the Gaylord College Graduate Program. 

Prior to arriving at the University of Oklahoma, Franklin worked as A/V engineering manager for Yahoo! Broadcast in Dallas, Texas, and in managing technology services for Collin County Community College campuses in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; Rockwall, TX; Frisco, TX & McKinney, TX. While at North Lake College in Irving, Texas he was coordinator for the RFTV program for Dallas County Community Colleges. His industry experience also includes network sports (ESPN, ABC, NBC, CBS, & Fox Sports Network), commercial & cable television operations, and working in news, operations, production and as editor/director/producer for independent video productions.

Dr. Christopher Hill

Dr. Christopher Hill

Students interested in Sociology/Criminology

Dr. Christopher Hill: I have been an Assistant Professor of Sociology since August 16, 2013. I currently teach Criminology, The System of Criminal Justice, and Juvenile Justice. For 11 years prior to my appointment at the University of Oklahoma, I served in several research and administrative positions in all three branches of state government. From April 2001 through December 2005, I worked as a Court Operations Consultant for the Florida Supreme Court’s Office of the State Courts Administrator.

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Dr. Brittany Hott

Special Education students

First Gen students

Rural students 

Dr. Brittany Hott: Brittany L. Hott, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. Her interests include school-based interventions, program evaluation, and the effective translation of special education research to practice. Her work is predominantly focused on supporting underserved, under-resourced, and under-researched rural schools. Dr. Hott is the recipient of the H. M. Lafferty Research Award, the Chuck Ariz Research Award, and the Texas Council for Exceptional Children Distinguished Teacher Educator Award. She serves as president elect of the International Council for Learning Disabilities and as a member of the executive board of the American Council on Rural Special Education.

Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano

Dr. Emily Johnson

Foreign Language students, Literature students, & Culture/Study Abroad students

Dr. Emily Johnson: Dr. Emily Johnson is a Professor of Russian. Before coming to the University of Oklahoma, she taught at Columbia University, Hofstra University, Drew University, and Williams College. Her research interests include the Petersburg myth and text, Russian popular culture, and the documentary heritage of the Soviet labor camp system. Dr. Johnson has received a number of faculty awards since arriving at the University of Oklahoma, including the Cecil W. Woods Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), the Irene Rothbaum Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences (2005), the Dean’s Outstanding Academic Advising Award from the College of Arts and Sciences (2008), the Gary B. Cohen Award from the School of International and Area Studies (2009), the Vice-President for Research's Award for Outstanding Research Engagement (2012), and the Brian and Sandra O’Brien Presidential Professorship (2020). Her first book, How St. Petersburg Learned to Study Itself: The Russian Idea of Kraevedenie (Penn State University Press, 2006), won both the Antsiferov Prize for the Best Work on the City of St. Petersburg by a Foreign Author and the SCMLA Book Prize in Cultural Studies. For her work on Arsenii Formakov, Gulag Letters, translated, edited and introduced by Emily D. Johnson (Yale University Press, 2017), Dr. Johnson received the 2018 AATSEEL Book Prize for best scholarly translation. Dr. Johnson’s research has been funded by the Oklahoma Humanities Council, the South Central Modern Language Association, the American Council of Teachers of Russian, the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal World Literature Today.


Dr. Martin Kong: 

Computer Science students & Engineering students

Dr. Martin Kong: Dr. Kong graduated from the Ohio State University in 2016, where he was a member of the high-performance computing research laboratory. He was advised by Prof. Louis-Noël Pouchet and Prof. P. Sadayappan. Prior to joining OU, he spent two years as an Assistant Computational Scientist at the Computational Science Initiative in Brookhaven National Laboratory. Before that, he held a post-doctoral research position in Prof. Vivek Sarkar's Habanero research group in the Computer Science Department at Rice University.

Dr. Kong's work seeks to exploit synergies among programming languages, compilers, computer hardware and domain specific knowledge to attain high-performance in today's evolving complex computing systems. He is currently serving as a member of the Program Committee (PC) of LCPC'19 and ICPP'20, as well as co-chair of the Artifact Evaluation (AE) committee of Compiler Construction 2020 (CC'20)and AE PC member in PACT'19. He has served as reviewer in journals such as ACM TACO, ACM TOPC and IEEE TPDPS. He has also organized and chaired several workshops:


Dr. Jancarlos Montoya 

Spanis students, International students, First gen students, Latino students, & Hispanic/African American heritage students 


Dr. Deborah Moore-Russo

Female students in STEM & All students

Dr. Deborah Moore-Russo: Dr. Moore-Russo works for the Department of Mathematics and teaches a variety of mathematics courses. Her interests include Wrestling, ice hockey, any sport her kids are playing, any Buffalo professional team – no matter how bad their record and all OU Sooner sports.

Dr. Oluwatobi Odeleye

Dr. Oluwatobi Odeleye

Students interested in chemistry or biochemistry

Dr. Oluwatobi Odeleye: My name is Oluwatobi (Tobi for short), and I am from Nigeria. I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry (research area – Chemical Education), and I have been teaching at the University of Oklahoma for about two years now. Currently, the only course I teach is the first semester of general chemistry, but I will be teaching a graduate course in the fall, focusing on pedagogical methods for teaching assistants. I love playing and watching tennis and generally being active. I also enjoy reading.


Dr. Matthew Reyes

Construction Science students, Latinx students, & Any students

Dr. Shad Satterhwaite

Dr. Shad Satterthwaite

Student Veterans

Dr. Shad Satterhwaite: My wife Valerie and I are the proud parents of three children, an awesome son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and a wonderful 2-year old grandson!  I teach courses in political science and in national security for the College of Professional and Continuing Studies where I also serve as associate dean.  I’ve been in the military for 31 years as a reservist and am currently assigned to the U.S. Army War College.


Dr. Sepideh Stewart

Students interested in Math

Dr. Sepideh Stewart: Dr. Sepideh Stewart is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the Department of Mathematics, University of Oklahoma. She is the editor of And the Rest is Just Algebra (2017), and co-editor of Challenges and Strategies in Teaching Linear Algebra (2018). She is one of the guest editors of a special edition of ZDM special issue on “Research on Teaching and Learning in Linear Algebra” She completed her doctoral dissertation on research on pedagogy of Linear Algebra under supervision of Professor Mike Thomas and Professor Ivan Reilly at The University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2008. Her current research interests are on Linear Algebra. Since 2009 she has also been working on several projects on mathematics education at the university level collaborating with mathematicians. In addition, her latest research project on Algebra is examining undergraduate students’ difficulties with school Algebra, which are causing major interruptions in their success in Calculus courses.


Dr. Dan Schwartz

Students interested in music

Dr. Dan Schwartz: Dr. Dan Schwartz is the Associate Professor of Oboe at the University of Oklahoma School of Music, joining the faculty in the fall of 2011. At OU, he maintains an active studio of undergraduate and graduate oboists, runs the woodwind chamber music program, as well as performs in the woodwind-quintet-in-residence, the Oklahoma Woodwind Quintet. An avid performer, Dr. Schwartz is currently the Second Oboe/English Horn player in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Prior to this position, Dr. Schwartz has performed with orchestras throughout North America, including the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada (under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman), the Nashville Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the San Antonio Symphony.