Mentoring for the future
As part of Mohamed Addani’s learning experience with UMR’s Community Collaboratory (Co-Lab for short), he worked with Rochester’s Somali Rebuild Organization (SRO) to develop after-school programs to open doors to higher education. Along the way, he became a mentor, won a major award, and found direction for his own post-student life.
Co-Lab, a required course for all juniors, matches students with a faculty adviser and a community partner in a semester-long project.
For Addani, Co-Lab has opened doors to a lasting partnership. He plans to continue working with SRO to create opportunities for Somali youth. “We’re currently developing projects like Visit to College, Science Fair, and Career Exploration to connect Rochester Public Schools students with college opportunities,” he says.
Recently recognized with Minnesota Campus Compact’s Student Leadership Award, Addani has gone above and beyond the requirements of his undergraduate program. He’s not alone in appreciating the benefits of his Co-Lab student experience.
“Co-Lab is about taking responsibility for the quality of life of community members and gaining valuable experience on a range of issues,” says Assistant Professor Gemma Punti, who oversees the course. “Our students are using their knowledge and skills to support community organizations in problem-solving, creative thinking, and hands-on experiences.”