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Innovative Mentorship Program Enables Business Students to Learn from Each Other
The University’s Pompea College of Business has launched a new “Near Peer” mentorship program that aims to foster mentor/mentee relationships among students and encourages them to develop leadership and networking skills.
March 22, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Rebecca DelValle ’23 took an “Organizational Management” class at the University of New Haven, she had the opportunity to learn about leadership and mentorship – not only from her professor, but from her fellow students. It offered her and her classmates a unique opportunity to connect with upper-level business students and for them to learn from each other.
The course, taught by Jestine Philip, Ph.D., was part of the Pompea College of Business’s “Near Peer” mentor program. Launched during the Fall 2020 semester, the program was incorporated into the curriculum of a newly designed upper-level “Foundations of Leadership” course for business students who served as peer mentors for their sophomore mentees in DelValle’s class.
“I got to hear different presentations from student mentors, specifically on leaders vs. managers and mentorship,” said DelValle, a hospitality and tourism management major. “I then wrote about what I learned and what I thought would be useful going forward. I wish this information was given to me when I was younger. It is very useful in all aspects of life.”
Mentors delivered interactive presentations to help mentees develop their skills and knowledge, sharing their own tips and experiences. Gabrielle Tayag ’21, who served as a mentor, says it was a great way to learn how to get the most out of a mentor/mentee relationship.
“We learned to set and maintain professional standards as we practiced our own personal styles of leadership,” said Tayag, a business management major. “Mentees challenged the mentors, forcing us to expand our perspectives, reassess our methods, and think on our feet. It was an amazing learning experience that significantly facilitated our professional development.”
‘Meaningful relationships with their peers’
Mentors designed lessons on topics such as leadership styles and emotional intelligence as it relates to being an effective mentor, engaging mentees in activities and conversations designed to deepen their understanding. Serving as mentors enabled the upper-level students to build their leadership skills and to practice mentoring before entering the workplace.
The format enabled the students to learn from each other through discussions and building relationships, benefitting both mentors and mentees.
“The goal of this program is to engage our undergraduate and graduate students in meaningful relationships with their peers and well-established alumni who could help them transition effectively from school to work and in their career development,” said Dr. Philip, who also taught the “Foundations of Leadership” course. “Such a program allows mentors and mentees to connect with each other, not only during mentoring meetings, but also on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram.”
Paige Gionet ’21, ’23 MHA who also took the “Foundations of Leadership” class and served as a mentor, says she enjoyed the opportunity to help her classmates learn and build their skills.
“I learned that being able to pass along my experience through personal stories is rewarding and teaches me a lot,” she said. “I learned more from the mentees I presented to than from the research and information I provided to them. This was a great way for mentors to interact with newer students in our program.”