SMART Start Program

  • The Student Mentoring Academic Resource Team (SMART) Start Program is designed to empower new students who are historically underrepresented in higher education. Participants are matched with an upperclass MSUM student mentor, many of whom have been SMART Start mentees in the past. Students engage in activities to share their diverse cultures and identities, participate in workshops to learn about resources available on campus, and develop a support network among their peers, staff, and faculty.

    The mission of the program is to ensure that each new Dragon has the resources needed to achieve their personal, academic and career goals.

    The Office of Diversity and Inclusion covers all program costs, including the cost of early move-in to the residence halls.

    The SMART Start Program will be held from Sunday, August 16, to Thursday, August 20, 2020. After the initial program in August, additional workshops and activities are hosted throughout the first year for SMART Start students. Examples of previous activities include: bowling, Sky Zone, craft and game nights, study groups, and a workshop discussing strategies for students to talk to and connect with their professors.

    2020 SMART Start Program Application

    If you have more questions about the SMART Start Program, please contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

  • Participants must be accepted and enrolled at MSUM for fall semester 2019, have completed the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year, be a citizen of the United States, and identify as at least one of the following:

    • Historically underrepresented (African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx)
    • LGBTQ+
    • First generation college student (neither parent/guardian has a 4-year college degree)
    • Pell Grant eligible
    • 10:00 a.m. Breakfast
    • 11:00 a.m. Career Development Center Presentation
    • 11:30 a.m. Mentor Panel Discussion
    • 12:30 p.m. Public Safety Presentation
    • 1:00 p.m. Lunch and discussion with SPECTRUM President
    • 2:00 p.m Class Activity & Scavenger Hunt
    • 3:00 p.m Library Activity
    • 4:00 p.m Free Time
    • 5:00 p.m Pizza Party with President Blackhurst & Faculty/Staff Guests
    • 6:30 p.m Dessert at Dairy Queen
    Aracelia Spotted Thunder - SMART Start Mentor
    Araceli Spotted Thunder (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Anthropology (Cultural) & East Asian Studies (Japanese Lang/Culture)

    • Campus & Community Involvement: American Indian Student Association (AISA), Rainbow Dragon Learning Community (previously in Global Connections LC), Programming Assistant in Office of Diversity & Inclusion
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: My favorite aspect of MSUM is that faculty and staff are willing to listen to student concerns. They hear us out and do all they can to help us.
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I am excited to meet incoming mentees! (And to move in early.)
    • Fun fact: I was one of the few competitors from the Pine Ridge Reservation at the International Youth Poetry Slam: Brave New Voices.

    Autumn Schaeffer - SMART Start Mentor
    Autumn Schaeffer (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Social Work

    • Campus & Community Involvement: Club volleyball, Rape and Abuse Crisis Center volunteer, YMCA after school child care, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: Smaller class sizes to better connect with professors
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? Seeing new faces ready to start their future at MSUM and to help the SMART Start students adjust to their new situations
    • Fun fact: I’ve been playing volleyball for 9 years now and I can make a three-leafed clover with my tongue (:

    Courtney Strobel - SMART Start Mentor
    Courtney Strobel (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Undecided

    • Campus & Community Involvement: Intramural volleyball and I work at the Boys and Girls Club
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: My favorite aspect of MSUM is the campus size. Everything is easy to get to and since campus is smaller you actually get to make connections with people and become familiar with a lot of faces.
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I’m looking forward to meeting new people, the activities that we’ll get to do together and welcoming the SMART Start students so they feel more familiar with campus.
    • Fun Fact: I was born in Honduras so I’m fluent in Spanish and I’m also terrified of worms.

    Emily King - SMART Start Mentor
    Emily King (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Social Work

    • Campus & Community Involvement: American Indian Student Association, Rainbow Dragon Learning Community, Volunteer Work at West Central Regional Juvenile Center
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: My favorite aspect is the close community I have with the LC I am a currently in.
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I’m excited to move in early so I do not have to deal with the anxieties about move in day.
    • Fun fact: I was a part of a winning video for the 2015 The Great American No Bull Challenge at a national level titled “Paper Hearts”.

    Kayla Roehrich - SMART Start Mentor
    Kayla Roehrich (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Undeclared but currently taking business courses and thinking about minoring in Communications.

    • Campus & Community Involvement: Apart of the BSU-Black Student Union, STLF – Students Today Leaders Forever, College against Cancer, Chi Alpha small group and the Smart Program. I volunteer at the Cats Cradle shelter. I work in the Deans Office College of Science, Health, and the Environment in Hagen Hall. I have a job off campus at Clubhouse Hotel and Suites in Fargo, ND.
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: The smaller campus so getting involved is a great way to meet new people from all parts of the world and make lifelong friendships.
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I am looking forward to the impact I will make by creating memories and getting a chance to see a new perspective as a mentor this year.
    • Fun fact: Last summer I spent my 18th birthday in France while studying abroad as a graduation gift to myself.

    Maurice Smith II - SMART Start Mentor
    Maurice Smith II (he/him/his)

    Senior, Film Production

    • Campus & Community Involvement: Diversity Dance Crew, Korea Club
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: The community it brings together as well as the opportunities it provides.
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I am looking forward to meeting students and going to Maplewood State Park.
    • Fun fact: I want to live in another country for my career.

    Samantha Bloodsaw - SMART Start Mentor
    Samantha Bloodsaw (she/her/hers)

    Sophomore, Business

    • Campus & Community Involvement: Black Student Union, Cru, record the football team, learning community, Emerging Leaders, SMART Start
    • Favorite aspect of MSUM: Pretty campus
    • What are you most looking forward to about SMART Start this year? I can’t wait to meet all of the incoming freshmen
    • Fun fact: I was the princess of Columbia Heights

    SMART Start Scholars provides sophomore year programming for students who participated in the SMART Start Program during their freshman year. This is a new opportunity for SMART Start students. More information will be posted soon.