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helping admit new and diverse students
About HANDS The Mentors Become a Mentor For Mentees Contact WWU Admissions Home

Helping Admit New and Diverse Students (HANDS) is HANDS 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.

About Hands 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.

Partnering Schools

We are currently partnering with the following schools. If you are interested in having the HANDS program in your school, please email

Ferndale High School
Squalicum High School
Mt. Vernon High School
Ferndale High SchoolSqualicum High SchoolSqualicum High School
The Mentors

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.

Mentor Testimonials
Masyih Ford

Leigh Berry


Become a HANDS Mentor

Why Become a HANDS Mentor:
As a HANDS Mentor, you will:
  • Make relationships with students and help them achieve their goals.
  • Gain experience related to your field of study (i.e. education, human services, psychology, etc.)
  • Receive training and develop professional skills
  • Join a dynamic and supportive team of mentors
  • Participate in leadership development and service-learning opportunities
  • Have a sense of significance and belonging in your Western and Bellingham community.
  • Receive a personal letter of recommendation

How to Apply:

  • Fill out the application by 11:59pm on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd,  2012.
  • For more information, email or stop by Old Main 235
  • A short interview will follow after the application has been completed
  • More information on mentor requirements and responsibilities can be found on the application

For Mentees

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.

College Search Tools



For questions, accommodations, or more information, contact 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.

Robel Paguio 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.

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