Mentors make a difference

Assit. Professor Charlene Dybas and FMCC student, Al Green. (Photo submitted)

Through basketball recruitment, Al Green of Brooklyn, New York, came to FM. In his first semester, he had a tough time juggling school and athletics and it showed through his grades. He decided to put all of his focus and energy into his school work but he needed some guidance — enter assistant professor of business technology applications, Charlene Dybas.  

Assist. Professor Dybas was part of a new mentor program at FM where faculty members volunteered their time to work one-on-one with students. Because Al’s career goal is to start his own business, he was matched with a business faculty member.

 “Prof. Dybas tutored me in a couple of my classes, helping me with my homework,” said Al. “She taught me how to study. I am thankful she was put in my life because I know the consequences of bad grades — you go home. I’m the oldest of four siblings and I’m used to being in charge. I had a lot of responsibility growing up and I know I can be responsible enough to run my own business. Prof. Dybas is helping me earn my degree so I can fulfill my goal.” 

Al said earning a college degree was not only important to him but to his parents and grandmother as well. 

“They have been my support system and encourage me to do my best,” said Al.  “I don’t want to let them down.” 

Al likens Assis. Professor Dybas to a “campus mom.”  According to Al, they became close enough that he was comfortable not only discussing his school work with her, but sought life advice from her as well.

Before seeking a mentor, Al’s grade point average was at or below a 1.5. He has boosted it to over a 2.5 with the help of Dybas. 

“Meeting Prof. Dybas was a blessing,” says Al.  “I didn’t realize how much help FM had to offer until I looked for it. Not only did she assist me, but I also utilized tutors in the Math and Writing Labs, the Biz Hub (FM’s Business Club), and the Evans Library. I would tell any struggling student to use your campus’ resources; if you look for help, it’s always out there.”

 Al finds new challenges in his life every day, whether school challenges or social challenges, they are there. 

“Because of all of the help I am receiving at FM, I now know how to handle adversaries and controversies better. I have found a balance in my life because I wanted to; you have to want something and go after it.  At FM, the faculty don’t go after it for you, but they teach you how to reach your goals.  If you listen, you will succeed.”

Although Al is not as involved with basketball as he once was, he still plays intramurals and watches the L.A. Lakers, his favorite NBA team. 

“I still participate in campus activities, but I keep my education as my top priority,” says Al. “I like money and in order to earn it and become my own boss, my focus needs to be a college degree.”


Amy Radik is the coordinator of PR and marketing at FM.

By Patricia Older

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