The Charger Blog

Health Sciences Students Create New Mentorship Program

Two members of the University’s School of Health Sciences have collaborated to create the Students Integrated Mentorship Program, which begins during the fall semester. They are looking forward to the opportunities it will create for their classmates to network and connect while enhancing their sense of support and belonging.

August 27, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The Charger Statue
The University of New Haven’s main campus in West Haven, Conn.

When Prateek Mansingh ’23 MHA began his time as a Charger last fall, he was adjusting to life in the United States as well as to graduate school. An international student from India, he says sometimes this was challenging. After he’d settled into his new home and routine, he was inspired to help guide new Chargers as they started their time at the University.

A provost assistant for the University’s School of Health Sciences, Mansignh served as an orientation leader for incoming students this past spring, helping them register for classes and supporting them after they’d started their classes. But he wanted to do more.

Mansingh and Peri Alexander ’23, a health sciences major, had an idea – they wanted to create a mentorship program to offer support to students who were new to the School of Health Sciences. They’ve been collaborating throughout the summer to develop the program, which they call Students Integrated Mentorship Program (SIMP).

“I wanted to give back to the school that has given me so much, so I wanted to initiate a mentorship program for students,” said Mansingh. “The experience and guidance I have received is what I want to offer to all SHS students to build a close-knit community that grows together. I hope they take advantage of this opportunity and make the best of it to succeed in all aspects of life and become champions of the University.”

‘A close-knit community’

Committed to the growth and enhancement of the School of Health Sciences, Mansingh and Alexander first piloted SIMP among a small group of students. They learned what they wanted to improve and invited members of the SHS community to apply to be mentors or mentees. They then interviewed potential mentors, and they are looking forward to officially launching the program during the fall semester.

Prateek Mansingh ’23 MHA.
Prateek Mansingh ’23 MHA.

Mansingh and Alexander, both members of the School of Health Sciences’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Belonging (DEIAB) committee, brought up the idea for the program at a meeting. They hoped it would help students of all backgrounds navigate adjusting to life as Chargers while building connections and lifelong friendships. They envision the program enhancing and strengthening the SHS community and creating networking opportunities for their fellow students.

“I hope this program creates a close-knit community within the SHS,” said Alexander. “I would like all students who are a part of the SHS, no matter their background or major, to come together and grow. I’d like this program to create more student engagement within the school as well provide peer-to-peer support.”

‘I cannot wait to see where this program goes’

A Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) student ambassador, Alexander is helping to create SIMP as part of her work as an ambassador. She is also facilitating the School of Health Sciences’ Youth Public Health Conference during the fall semester, which introduces first-generation and underrepresented high school students to careers in the public health field and helps prepare them for college. She is excited for these opportunities to encourage mentorship, something that has been particularly impactful in her own life.

Peri Alexander ’23.
Peri Alexander ’23.

“When I first came to the University, I thought I was going to be an average student who goes to class and does homework until graduation,” she said. “I thought I was going to stay in the shadows, until one of my mentors saw a spark in me that I didn’t see myself.

“This helped open my eyes to the opportunities I could take part in,” she continued. “I have gained confidence in myself as a scholar, a leader, and a role model to those around me. I also became empathetic to those who haven’t noticed the spark in themselves yet, and I will try my best to give them my support. I hope this mentorship program does for students what my mentors have done for me.”

After the semester begins, the program will hold a formal event to bring together mentors and mentees, who will have been paired based on the preferences on their applications, so that they can meet in person. After they meet, mentors and mentees will continue to meet and build their connections. Alexander and Mansingh will host monthly meetings with program members so that they can assess their progress and continue to network.

“It is the very first program of its kind at the University, and we are really excited about it,” said Mansingh. “I cannot wait to see where this program goes. We hope that other academic colleges at the University follow our steps and inculcate this to help all students connect.”