Student Services Native Student Services

Wawokiya Mentoring Program

The Wawokiya Mentoring Program derives its name from a Lakota word meaning "one who assists or helps" and is based upon the Native American cultural value of sharing, assisting and guiding those that enter an endeavor being assisted by others who have or are accomplishing the similar endeavors successfully. In harmony with this cultural value the mentoring program is a peer student mentorship program to assist the incoming freshman and transfer students with junior and senior mentors. The student mentors are selected for their commitment to living healthy life styles, participation in university events and excelling in their academic major areas. The program is coordinated by the Native Student Services Graduate Assistant - Wawokiya Coordinator.

Peer & Graduate School Mentors

  • Provide mutually satisfying and beneficial academic (study tables), social and cultural experiences throughout the year to assist the freshman and transfer students transition to and comfortably integrate into the university setting
  • Make weekly contact with their mentees electronically in person and keep a log of the contact activity
  • Participate with the mentees in Native Student Services activities throughout the year through one to one contact and group gatherings
  • Attend Native Student Services meetings and trainings
  • Report to the NSS G.A. - Wawokiya Mentor Program Coordinator Peer Mentees are responsible for full participation in the Wawokiya Mentoring Program to enhance their success opportunities at USD
  • Counseling Program Mentors

Program Activities

  • Bowling, movies, grocery bingo at NACC, study tables, Lakota Language learning lab, guest lectures, cultural programming, educational trips, and graduate school counseling
  • Interacting with other university campus activities


If you have questions about the Wawokiya Mentor Program, please contact:

DaVida Russell


Current students, staff and faculty should visit myUSD Portal Wawokiya Mentoring Program to apply for the program as either a mentor or mentee

Gene Thin Elk