Two members of the University’s Health Sciences Department worked together to create a comprehensive student mentoring program beginning in the fall semester. They look forward to creating opportunities for their classmates to network and connect while increasing support and belonging.
August 27, 2022
When Prateek Mansingh ’23 MHA started working as a Charger last fall, he was adjusting not only to graduate school, but to life in the United States. As an international student from India, this was sometimes difficult. After he settled into his new home and routine, he was inspired to help guide the new Chargers as they began their time at college.
As vice president of the university’s Department of Health Sciences, Mansain served as an orientation leader for new students this spring, helping them register for classes and providing after-class support. But he wanted more.
Mansingh and health science major Peri Alexander ’23 had the idea to create a mentoring program to support new health science students. They have worked together all summer long to develop a program called the Integrated Student Mentorship Program (SIMP).
“I wanted to give back to the school for giving me so much, so I wanted to start a mentoring program for students,” Mansingh said. “The experience and guidance I have received is what I want to offer to all SHS students in building a close-knit community that grows together. I hope that I will do my best to become a college champion.”
Mansingh and Alexander are committed to growing and enhancing the School of Health Sciences, initially piloting SIMP with a small group of students. They learned what they wanted to improve and encouraged members of the SHS community to apply to be mentors or mentees. After that, we look forward to interviewing potential mentors and officially launching the program during the fall semester.
Mansingh and Alexander are members of the Department of Health Sciences’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access and Affiliation (DEIAB) Board and brought up the idea of the program at the conference. They hoped to help a student of all backgrounds adjust to life as a Charger while building connections and lifelong friendships.They believed the program would strengthen his SHS community and It is envisioned to enhance and create networking opportunities for fellow students.
“We hope this program will create a tight-knit community within SHS,” says Alexander. “We want all students who are part of SHS to come together and thrive, regardless of their background or major. I hope you will.”
“I can’t wait to see where this program goes”
A student ambassador for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI), Alexander helps create SIMP as part of his work as an ambassador. She also facilitates the Health Sciences School’s Youth Public Health Conference in the fall semester. This will introduce the first generation of underrepresented high school students to careers in public health and help prepare them for college. This has had a particular impact on her own life.
“When I first came to college, I thought I would be a normal student who would go to class and do homework until I graduated,” she said. “I thought I was going to stay in the shadows until one of my mentors saw a spark inside me that I couldn’t see myself.
“This helped me see the opportunities I could participate in,” she continued. I’ve learned to empathize with those who haven’t yet discovered the spark within me, and I will do my best to support them.This mentorship program is what my mentors have done for me. I hope to bring that to my students.”
After the semester begins, the program will host a formal event where mentors and mentees paired based on application preferences can be assembled to meet in person. After meeting, mentors and mentees continue to meet and build connections. Alexander and Mansingh hold monthly meetings with program her members so they can assess progress and keep the network going.
“This is the first program of its kind at the university and we are very excited about it,” Mansingh said. “I can’t wait to see where this program goes. I hope other academic colleges at the university will follow our procedures and inculcate this so that all students can connect.”