Each week this summer, we'll be highlighting exciting MAP events from the last academic year. This week, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò and Gabbrielle Johnson tell us about UCLA's new undergraduate mentorship program.
The MAP at UCLA Mentor-Mentee Meetup Event kicked off our yearlong pilot Undergraduate Mentorship Program. The event invited all graduate mentor and undergraduate mentee participants to socialize over pizza and drinks and discuss a wide range of topics, from philosophical ones to questions about the profession and uses of a philosophy degree. The event also aimed to create a sense of familiarity within the pool of mentees as well as between mentees and a breadth and potential network of supportive graduate students wider than their specific mentors. Our feedback on the program indicated both mentors and mentees developed a relationship that was distinct both in quality and in benefits from that of the TA-student dynamic.
From a mentor:
"[I]t has been a pleasure to talk, both about philosophy and about learning in general, with a student who is intelligent and engaged. At first I did not know how my interactions with my mentee would be different in character from my interactions with students as a TA. But it seems to me now that the mentor/mentee relationship does have a different character and that this kind of interaction might be worthwhile for the mentee (I hope)."
From a mentee, on what was most helpful about the program:
I honestly don't know how to qualify what the 'most' helpful thing was about meeting with my mentor - and that's because everything was helpful. As a transfer student, I had absolutely no idea what I was going into, much less what something like 'research' meant. Through my mentor's guidance and clarification of things, I definitely stopped feeling like I had no idea what I was doing all the time. I would say I now only frequently have no idea what I am doing.
From a mentee, general remarks:
I'm really grateful for this program's existence - without it, I wouldn't be applying to grad school this fall with a fantastic writing sample, letters of rec, and research experience. That's because my mentor encouraged me to maintain resiliency in pursuing my goals, and it is because of her I can in good faith pursue philosophy professionally in the future.
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