UAB BMEN honors graduating mentor Nore Hodge with Green Blazer of Excellence – News

Hodge, who is studying for a degree in materials engineering, says the BMEN peer mentoring program has helped him become “a more complete individual”.

Nor HodgeNor Hodge had no intention of becoming involved in student activities when he began as a freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

But when he attended his first Blazer Male Excellence Network event, he was hooked.

The BMEN peer mentoring program is designed to provide academic and social support to Black male students entering UAB. BMEN’s goal is to improve the quality of life for new students by collaborating with a returning student and providing information to guide the college experience inside and outside of the classroom.

Hodge says while he was applying to UAB, representatives from BMEN shared information about the program and convinced his mother. He signed up with no real intention of going through with it; But that all changed after the first Enrichment Week event, when mentors and mentees come together early to meet and get a head start on what college life is like. Once he met with the group, “it was just a good sense of belonging.”

“You’re the one you keep around, and I loved who was around me,” Hodge said. “And that kind of helped push me, ‘Okay, that’s something I want to continue to be a part of.'”

As he prepares to graduate in Materials Engineering from the School of Engineering on April 30, Hodge was presented with the organization’s Green Blazer of Excellence. It is the group’s highest award, and recipients of the recognition must excel in teaching, demonstrate leadership in BMEN and the campus community, participate in research, and be highly respected by their peers. The honor “summarized everything” in his college career, he said.

Originally from Downey, California, Hodge moved his family to Alabama when his father was promoted. A member of the UAB Honors College Personalized Path, Hodge is also a Presidential Scholar, has been active in student multicultural and diversity programs including Black Student Awareness Committee, International Mentors and Free Food for Thought, and has even worked with UAB Student Media.

Story stream by Nore HodgeHodge, center, was awarded the BMEN Green Blazer of Excellence, the group’s highest honor. As a Fellow of Honors College, he will graduate in Materials Engineering on April 30th.
Photography: Ron Pride Photography

The pursuit of excellence is something you hear throughout the program, but it’s about more than grades.

“It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, get straight A’s, be the best you can be,'” Hodge said, “but they were constantly, ‘This is someone to look up to, here’s a role model, here your colleagues are excellent too.’” His first college friends were BMEN. Hodge says these interactions helped mold him “into a more complete individual.”

UAB works to improve student retention and graduation rates. Nationally, black men have the lowest retention rates of any group on most college campuses, according to BMEN. The BMEN peer mentoring program is a way to connect black men to university and help them make a successful transition to UAB. The retention rate for black men has increased significantly at UAB since the start of the BMEN program, says mentor program coordinator and BMEN consultant Sharifa Wip.

BMEN aims to improve the relationship between the university and its students and help increase retention and graduation rates by providing students with the resources to achieve their educational goals. The program helps members grow personally, intellectually and professionally, gives them the opportunity to become leaders and encourages them to share and apply new knowledge and information to their mentoring and mentee roles. Mentors are selected each spring and undergo extensive training to provide the best possible service.

Hodge is very humble and just the kind of student you get excited about, says Christopher Jones, Ph.D., director of the UAB Student Multicultural and Diversity program.

“He gets along with almost everyone and has a real passion for learning,” Jones said. “He was a role model for others in the BMEN program as well as for all students in the Office of Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs. I have no doubt that he will have a successful career as an engineer but also be a real change agent in the world.”

Hodge’s advice for new students? Time management. There will be tough courses, but the material isn’t really what’s difficult.

“You have all that freedom. Nobody’s going to tell you to do anything,’ Hodge said. “It’s up to you if you do your homework. You have to prioritize which classes are harder than others.”

Hodge says he is grateful to Jones and Wip and praises his mentors Dejon Frazier and Cstephan Hutcherson.

After graduating, Hodge says, he wants to get into the materials engineering industry and then get his PhD.

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