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AUM’s Bridge Program served as a pathway to success for May graduate

For graduate student Evan Mott, AUM’s Bridge Program was a pathway to success and a motivator to not give up on his dream to earn a college degree.

Evan Mott sitting on a bench in front of Taj Mahal
Evan Mott

Mott, who is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from AUM’s College of Business, said when he was accepted into the Bridge Program, it was unfamiliar territory for him as a struggling incoming undergraduate student. He will celebrate the program being the impetus for him to pursue a graduate degree when he receives his MBA during the Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony on May 6.

Mott’s journey to earning his MBA was not without challenges, failures and self-doubt. Originally born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Mott’s parents both worked for the U.S. military, so he moved around a lot, living in seven different states and three different countries.

“I did really bad in high school,” Mott said about his schooling in Germany. “I had to look at options for me that would be forgiving of my GPA.”

AUM’s Bridge Program was one of those options. The program helps students hone their academic and study skills through courses structured to prepare them for college-level work with confidence to thrive and succeed at AUM. Students receive additional academic support for one semester, known as students’ Bridge semester, prior to gaining admission to AUM.

“Our goal is to make meaningful connections with students to encourage them to grow in their skills,” said Bridge Program Manager Sheryl Kane. “We connect students to the most helpful resources to empower them. This means offering personalized support and increased outreach to each student.”

Students are recruited into AUM’s Bridge Program through high school visits, Warhawk Welcome and other campus events, mailings and direct phone calls, Kane said. Students are generally conditionally admitted to the university through the program, she said.

“Like most first-year students, Bridge students take English, math and the university’s UNIV college success course their first term and must complete each course by earning a C or better,” she said. “Bridge students’ success, as with all students, is related to their commitment, determination and hard work.”

After touring AUM as a high school student, Mott found he enjoyed the campus, closeness of the campus community and professors’ willingness to help. The option of being admitted through the Bridge Program sealed his decision to make AUM his college home, Mott said.

“AUM’s admission staff and faculty were always willing to answer questions, and the campus was the perfect size,” he said. “I just loved being here.”

With a poor GPA as an entering freshman, Mott said he was committed to taking the Bridge Program’s foundation courses in English and math to prove he deserved a spot in his freshman class and that he was a capable student. To meet the program’s requirements, Mott had to earn at least a grade of 75 in his classes his first semester at AUM, but he managed to score just below the requirement.

“I felt as if I was done, just done,” Mott said. “But Phill Johnson (Dean of AUM’s Library) saw something in me and convinced a few others to let me continue. I ended up doing really well the rest of the way, and it all worked out.”

Johnson became Mott’s faculty mentor, giving him advice, reviewing his resumes, and teaching one of Mott’s first courses to help him through the Bridge Program.

Evan Mott standing in front of a mountain in Egypt
Evan Mott celebrates earning his bachelor’s degree from AUM in Egypt.

“He meant the world to me,” Mott said. “He has always been there for me since I started at AUM. I wouldn’t be here; I wouldn’t have my job without him. He was like the catalyst for me getting through college as an undergraduate student.”

When Mott finally started doing well at AUM, he looked at himself and his situation and said, “Okay. Why not keep going?”

In Summer 2021, Mott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from AUM. Eight days later while on a graduation trip in Egypt, Mott started his MBA online with AUM. Post flying back to the U.S., he began a job opportunity with the U.S. Department of Defense as a logistics management specialist in Fort Lee, Virginia.

Mott is currently based at Fort Shafter in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he works as a logistics management specialist. His is also working to complete a second master’s degree in logistics management from Florida Tech.

“It’s going to sound silly, but my whole life, especially through high school, I didn’t do well” he said. “A lot of people treated me like I was stupid so I’ve always had this chip on my shoulder, but AUM restored by drive to pursue my education.”

Evan Mott accepting military award
During his first job after graduation, Evan Mott earned military awards for sponsoring international soliders from Egypt at Fort Lee.

With everything AUM gave Mott, he wants to give back by creating a new student organization that is supportive of all cultures on campus. Drawing on his life growing up in other countries and in a military family, Mott said the “AUM Third Culture Club” would give students who were raised and educated in a culture other than their own a place to come together and share experiences.

“I know there’s a lot of military kids at AUM, and a lot of people, not just from the military, who have come from other places or moved around a lot growing up,” he said. “It’s hard when you don’t know other people around you so I think this club would be a good way for those people to relate to one another.”

The “AUM Third Culture Club” is currently in the works with potentially six to seven members and Johnson as a potential on-campus faculty advisor while Mott works to finish his online MBA. He will pass the torch to his best friend to get the organization established after he graduates.

AUM’s Bridge Program is designed to produce student outcomes like Mott’s educational journey at AUM, Kane said.

“Our hope and efforts are geared toward helping Bridge students to do well in their first year, so they continue toward their degree at AUM,” she said. “We commend Mott on his accomplishments. He learned what it took to be a successful student and followed through to meet his goals.”



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