Peer Mentorship Can Make All the Difference

Peer Mentorship Can Make All the Difference

Pre-med student Nancy Blankson reflects on the Forsythe Grange program

November 24, 2021

“Growing up, I was a very curious child—I just wanted to know how things worked,” says biology major Nancy Blankson. Eventually, “I was drawn to biology by all of the organisms that work together in such a complicated system,” she adds. That curiosity would ultimately grow into a passion for pre-med, thanks in part to the encouragement she received from her mentor in the Forsythe Grange mentorship program.

 

The College of Natural Science’s Forsythe Grange Mentoring Program creates opportunities for all undergraduate students to be engaged in mentorships, especially those from underserved groups in science disciplines, such as first-generation students, underrepresented minorities, and those needing financial support.

“It is a unique program and makes an important difference in student lives,” says Dean Tricia Serio, adding that CNS’ goal is to support two new mentors and up to 10 additional mentees in the next five years.

“I wanted to do research but I didn’t know where to look,” says Blankson, adding that her mentor pointed her toward the Office of Undergraduate Research Studies so that she “was able to finally get into the research area of my choice.”

Two years after her experience as a Forsythe Grange mentee, Blankson is paying her experience forward by serving as a mentor. “Now that I’m a mentor in the Forsythe Grange program, I hope to inspire students to keep going when things get difficult,” she says.

As a member of the UMass Future Public Health Leaders network, Blankson is also a study group leader who helps others improve their study skills.

“The mentoring program has shown me that yes, you can be independent, but it's important to realize that when things aren't going all right, it's OK to seek help.”

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