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Helping Admit New and Diverse Students (HANDS) is a mentorship outreach program at Western Washington University meant to provide underrepresented high school students access to resources and information regarding college education, admissions, financial aid, and the Western Experience.
Every student has the opportunity to attend college but not every student knows that it is achievable no matter what background they come from. An important element of HANDS to achieve these goals is its mentors. HANDS participating schools are matched with caring and passionate HANDS Mentors who will help high school students evaluate their educational goals and provide the resources and support to achieve them. Participants will interact with HANDS Mentors through small group interaction, informational workshops, and general informal advice about college.
We are currently partnering with the following schools. If you are interested in having the HANDS program in your school, please email Robel.Paguio@wwu.edu.
HANDS Mentors are an integral part of the program vision and reflect the retention and outreach goals of the Admissions Office and Western Washington University as a whole. HANDS Mentors from various backgrounds and experiences take pride in their contribution to increased access and retention of students in high school and college. Mentors prove every day that active minds do change lives, finding community and a sense of belonging while encouraging others to reach their academic goals.
How to Apply:
Need help looking for colleges or finding scholarships? Use the following sites to get started with your search! Feel free to contact us on how to use these sites if you're confused and/or have questions.
For questions, accommodations, or more information, contact Robel.Paguio@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-7946. You can also stop by the HANDS office in Old Main 235 (across from the Registrar's Office).
About the Coordinator
Hello! My name is Robel Paguio, and I am the current HANDS Coordinator. I came to Western in 2008 after graduating from Olympic High School in Bremerton, WA. I was the first in my family to move away from home and attend a 4-year University, so transitioning into college was tough.
Fortunately, the tight community and welcoming environment that I heard was so characteristic of Western and the city of Bellingham made it easier for me to feel more at home. The Ethnic Student Center on campus also played a huge role in finding my place in the community and served as my home away from home. Through the ESC, I was able to take on various leadership roles, develop professional skills, ignite my passion for diversity and social justice, and explore my identity as a student of color. While at Western, I also played intramural sports, coordinated two dance groups, served on the AS Inter-club council and AS Management Council, and worked as a lab research assistant in the Psychology department. I, along with my research partner, carried out a study on the benefits of actively confronting prejudice.
Western provided me with limitless opportunities as well as the freedom to create my own path for growth and exploration. I’m excited to be able to provide students with the information and resources that they may not necessarily have available for them in order to have access to the same sort of opportunities.