The Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics at California State University – Channel Islands in Camarillo has received a $34,000 grant to start a pilot peer mentorship program.

The program, funded by the Martin V. & Martha K. Smith Foundation, aims to provide academic and psychosocial support to students studying business and economics.

The mentors will spend several hours each week providing tutoring and small-group learnings sessions, in addition to organizing events to help fellow students navigate being a first-generation college student.

Susan Andrzejewski, interim dean of the Smith School, said that research shows that many of the university’s first-generation students feel more comfortable seeking additional academic and social support from peers.

“The benefit of the program is two-fold,” Andrzejewski said in a statement. “Not only does it allow us to provide additional leadership and campus job opportunities to students who have performed very well, but by serving as a peer mentor, these students can help 40 or so of their peers succeed as well.”