The Charger Blog

University’s Pompea College of Business Promotes Mentorship and Research

Student Experiential Activity and Research Day brought together business students and faculty for an important discussion about mentorship, as well as the opportunity to learn more about some of the important student and faculty research taking place at the University.

May 9, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Jestine Philip, Ph.D. (far right), with student panelists and presenters at the event.
Jestine Philip, Ph.D. (far right), with student panelists and presenters at the event.

Indra Ponnuswamy ’24 M.S. is interested in exploring how the integration of artificial intelligence can impact tasks in the workplace as well as on employee outcomes. She’s now focusing her research on the important impact AI can have.

A candidate in the University’s graduate program in human resources, Ponnuswamy is exploring the theoretical and practical implications of AI’s role in creative tasks. With her faculty mentor Jestine Philip, Ph.D., she’s examining its potential for positive psychological outcomes for employees.

Ponnuswamy was among the Chargers who recently presented their research to the University community as part of Student Experiential Activity and Research Day. Hosted by Pompea College of Business (PCoB) professors Dr. Philip and Bo Yu, Ph.D., the event brought together undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty.

“It meant a lot to me to have the opportunity to share my work with the University community during the event,” said Ponnuswamy. “We received valuable audience feedback, and it was rewarding to see that others were interested in our research and its potential applications. Furthermore, I was fascinated by the work of my fellow presenters who participated in the event.”

Indra Ponnuswamy ’24 M.S. discusses her research.
Indra Ponnuswamy ’24 M.S. discusses her research.
‘Why this program is so important’

Presentations included projects completed by Gabriela Garcia-Perez ’24 and Kiana White ’23 whose research, respectively, explores the location of housing and graduation rates of high school students in Connecticut as well as identity concealment among higher education minority students.

A two-part event, Student Experiential Activity and Research Day also included a student panel discussion about mentorship. Students representing the PCoB’s two impactful mentoring programs – the Near Peer Mentorship Program and the Alumni Mentoring Program – shared their experiences. The former pairs first-year students with upper-level students, while the latter matches seniors with PCoB alumni.

Nikolas Affronti ’23, an accounting major, was among the panelists. He discussed his participation in the Alumni Mentoring Program.

“My experience as a mentee was helpful,” he said. “My mentor gave me advice on what to do in the internship I had with PwC and what not to do. Mentoring is important because you want people who are going to motivate you and guide you in your career.”

The discussion included conversations about how mentors have impacted students’ lives and how the two programs are helping students navigate their college experiences while preparing them for their careers. Panelists included students who served as mentors and mentees. They explained why mentorship has been so critical in their own lives while highlighting the importance of these mentorship programs.

“What I enjoyed about the Student Experiential Activity and Research Day was giving students and professors the chance to understand why this program I’ve been a part of is so important,” said Affronti. “Finding a good mentor isn't easy, and this program gave me the flexibility to find the right mentor for me.”

Emily Bogdanowicz '23,' 24 MBA, Jake Romao ’26, and Nikolas Affronti’ 23 discussed their experiences in the PCoB mentoring programs.
Emily Bogdanowicz '23,' 24 MBA, Jake Romao ’26, and Nikolas Affronti’ 23 discussed their experiences in the PCoB mentoring programs.
‘A great learning experience’

Moderated by Dr. Philip, the panel was the third annual event that promoted the mentoring programs since they launched in 2021. Last year’s panel was held virtually, and Chargers gathered in-person this year at the University’s Orange Campus.

It was my absolute honor to host this event,” said Dr. Philip, an assistant professor and director of the PCoB mentoring programs. “The event was a great opportunity to learn about our students' involvement in the mentoring programs and the various theses and research projects that the PCoB undergraduate and graduate students are involved in.

“The two PCoB mentoring programs are uniquely positioned to help students at various stages of their academics and careers,” she continued. “Not only do students get the opportunity to help each other during the semester, but senior students (mentees in the alumni program) also have a chance to connect one-on-one with an alum mentor as they prepare to launch their careers.”

For Ponnuswamy, who presented her research at the event, it was a wonderful way to connect with her fellow members of the PCoB and share how she’s preparing for her own career. Ponnuswamy’s and Dr. Philip’s research paper has been accepted for presentation at the Eastern Academy of Management annual conference in Philadelphia later this month.

“Working with Prof. Philip has been a great learning experience for me,” said Ponnuswamy. “Her expertise in the field has helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the topic and to approach my research from multiple perspectives. I am grateful to the Pompea College of Business for giving us this opportunity to present our research.”

Indra Ponnuswamy ’24 M.S. with Brian Kench, Ph.D., dean of the PCoB.
Indra Ponnuswamy ’24 M.S. with Brian Kench, Ph.D., dean of the PCoB.