Coaching students for life at Notre Dame de Namur

Twenty-one-year-old Ashley Tuvell was excited to start her junior year at Notre Dame de Namur University last month.

As a transfer student, Tuvell was eager to move forward with her education and start her junior year — one step closer to her ultimate goal of teaching kindergarten. While Tuvell knows her ultimate goal, she also had a lot of questions, like: How to decipher the abbreviations for the buildings on the campus map? How to deal with questions about tuition from parents who are divorced? What are the best ways to make friends as an adult? How should a professor be approached when a problem arises?

When those questions pop up, Tuvell sends a text to Karlene Mills.

Mills isn’t a lifelong girlfriend or even a fellow student. Mills, senior InsideTrack coach, is a new figure on the school campus. Thanks to a $3.2 million federal grant announced in October, the Belmont college is starting a new coaching service which is offered free to select students. About 60 students — freshmen and transfer students like Tuvell — are in the first group this semester. In the fall, the entire freshman class will begin working with the InsideTrack program.

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