Southeast Missouri State University

Mentors Help Hayti Native and Southeast Student Craig Robinson Succeed

College of Education; Department of Middle and Secondary Education
Craig Robinson

Southeast Missouri State University student Craig Robinson graduated from Hayti High in May of 2009. He is majoring in middle school science and social studies and will graduate in May of 2014.

Robinson said his time in college has not always been easy, but with the help of the Student Support Services and Educational Access Programs at Southeast and his on- and off-campus mentors, he has been able to overcome obstacles and be successful.

After beginning college, “I was faced with financial and scholastic obstacles. My freshman year I was having trouble paying for school and having trouble in a few of my courses, so I joined the Student Support Services and Educational Access Programs. Once in the programs, I received scholarships and tutoring for my classes. This made things easier, and I became a lot more stress-free,” he said.

Robinson said his mentors at Southeast have also played an important role in helping him along the way. The summer after his freshman year, he met Vida Mays, director of pre-collegiate programs. She offered him his first college job working as a mentee via the Minority Mentor Program of the Educational Access Programs office, and he has been working in her office since then.   “She really helps me think about the bigger picture and my future,” he said.

Also, Robinson said his first Student Support Services advisor, Steven Taylor, helps him with various issues, and he has mentors outside of Southeast, including Linda Kyles, his mother, and Tonia Lane, who he refers to as his mother away from home, who help him.

“These women keep my on the right path and encourage me to go for my goals,” he said, adding, “These are just a few of the many people who are helping me reach my goals, and I appreciate them very much.”

After he graduates, Robinson wants to give back by helping others. He plans to move to the St. Louis or Kansas City areas to participate for the summer in Teach for America, a growing movement of leaders who work to ensure that youths growing up in poverty get an excellent education. Afterward, Robinson plans to teach middle school science and social studies and hopes to also coach track.

“I’m an ambitious person, but I would really like to thank the staff of Pre-Collegiate Programs, Educational Access Programs, Student Support Services and the College of Education. These are the people who know what I want to do in life and are helping me make it come true,” he said.

Robinson encourages future Southeast students to use the resources the University offers.

“There are so many programs and people around campus that are there to help you, but you have to also be ambitious and want these things. Manage your time, study hard and budget your money. These things have really helped me get where I am now,” he said.