Alumni Mentorship Program Offers Support to Students

Posted on: August 2, 2019 Topics: alumni news, career services, education, future of public health, public health education, student, student news

From career advice to personal encouragement, mentors provide invaluable knowledge and support for graduate students embarking on the next chapter of their professional lives. Development and Alumni Relations and the Career & Practicum Office at the School of Public Health have launched the BUSPH Alumni Mentorship Program (AMP) to foster this professional growth among students as they prepare to enter or continue in public health workforce.

AMP matches participating second-year Master of Public Health students with alumni mentors who share similar academic and career interests, with an emphasis on addressing the needs of underserved populations.

Over the course of one academic year (September through April), students will meet at least one time per month with their mentor by phone, email, or in person. Mentors will share knowledge and insight on their professional experiences, and help students plan and achieve their short and long-term career goals.

“SPH alumni contribute to the success of our students in a number of ways,” says Jacoba van Heugten, assistant dean of development. “This mentorship program is an opportunity for students to gain meaningful knowledge and advice on their individual career goals, and it also enables alums to invest in the future of public health.”

Alum Jesse Anderson (SPH’14), who is a project manager at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and will serve as an AMP mentor, says that he is looking forward to helping students explore the wide variety of career opportunities available to public health professionals.

“During my last semester at SPH, an alum helped me land my first job at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and expand my network once in the DC metro area,” says Anderson, who also leads the SPH regional alumni group in Washington, DC. “I hope to be able to do the same for a current student.”

“I always encourage young people to speak their truth,” says alum Bahby Banks (SPH’05), who is a member of the SPH Alumni Leadership Committee and will also serve as a mentor. Based in Durham, N.C., Banks is the CEO of Pillar Consulting, a program evaluation research firm, as well as a leadership strategist and adjunct professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she has connected with several SPH alums.

“So often in public health, we’re dealing with problems that are deeply rooted in inequities. I‘ve observed the discomfort of younger researchers and have seen many of them hesitate to speak their truth,” Banks says. “I try to position my students to be the next generation of change agents by encouraging them not only to speak their truth, but to also have a seat at decision-making tables.

“If there is not a seat, do exactly as Shirley Chisholm told us: Bring your folding chair.”

“What I always encourage the young folks to do is speak their truth,” says alum Bahby Banks (SPH’05), who is a member of the SPH Alumni Leadership Committee and will also serve as a mentor. Based in Durham, N.C., Banks is the CEO of Pillar Consulting, a research and evaluation firm, as well as a motivational speaker and adjunct professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she has connected with several SPH alums.

“So often in public health, we’re dealing with problems that are multi-layered and rooted in inequities, and, at times, younger people feel that they don’t have a voice at the table,” Banks says. “I try to position my students to be the next change agents and tell them just as Shirley Chisholm told us: If there’s not a seat at the table, bring your folding chair.”

If you are a second-year MPH student and would like to participate in AMP, sign up here. If you are an alum who would like to become as a mentor, click here.

Jillian McKoy

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