Easily the most rewarding and meaningful thing I choose to spend my professional time on is mentoring. Mentorship not only benefits the mentee but also is an incredibly enriching experience for me personally. Serving as a mentor helps me improve my leadership skills, hone my communication skills, and become a more engaged member of the community. I try to find opportunities to mentor a wide range of people, from middle school-aged kids to young professionals, giving me the full exposure to the STEM pipeline.
The Bridge Golf Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to use the game of golf to improve life outcomes for young men of color. Through specialized immersion in golf-related activities, they believe their young men can close gaps in achievement, learning, and opportunity. Through The Bridge Golf Learning Center, The Bridge Golf Foundation is dedicated to cultivating a lively and engaging community-centered space, where golf is a powerful medium to change the world for good. I work with Xavier in the after school program. The goal is to be there for him in any capacity. Whether it is academics, sports, relationships, home issues or anything at all, I aim to be a consistent source of support and set a good example for him. He is an amazing kid, who has a bright future ahead of him. A full account of my work with the Bridge Gold Foundation and more on why mentoring minorities, in particular, is important to me can be found in a Mentor Spotlight interview I did with the Foundation.
As a faculty member at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, I had the opportunity to work with several amazing undergraduate students. Many of them came through the CUNY Summer Undergraduate Research Program and the joint Materials Research Center program at Columbia University and City College of NY (CCNY). The students worked with me and my colleagues on various nanotechnology and photonics-based projects. Wonderful mentor/mentee bonds were formed, and we still maintain this relationship as they have moved on into graduate programs and the workforce. I also actively engage with science majors currently enrolled in my alma mater (Susquehanna University), through formal and informal programs.
I have recently joined the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) STEM Mentoring Program as of 2019. The Member-to-Member Mentoring program is a self-directed mentoring program that gives you the opportunity to be matched 1:1 with a mentor, or mentee, who is also a fellow Academy Member. The program provides a digital platform where you can form new connections, learn from other STEM professionals, and share career advice and experiences. Currently, I am mentoring Nora Houlihan, a Doctoral Candidate in Nanoscale Engineering at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY and recently started mentoring Stefany Holguin, Ph.D. who is a Technical Account Management at BD. NYAS provides infrastructure and several resources for making the experience even more beneficial for both the mentee and mentor. My experience with the program has been highly positive. I recommend participating to anyone who is looking to mentor or to be mentored!
Materials Research Society Advisor
While a graduate student at Boston University, a friend and I decided to create a local chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS). As a chapter, we organized a number of fun and meaningful events, working hand in hand with the national society and other student chapters. My experience was so positive, that when I arrived at CUNY, I recruited undergraduate and graduate students to help start a local chapter there. I then served as the faculty advisor for the group for the rest of my time at CUNY. Mostly due to a fantastic group of graduate students, the chapter was highly successful, organizing educational, outreach, and networking events, even partnering with international chapters to organize a symposium. I continue to stay involved with the MRS as a member of the academic affairs committee and maintain close ties and provide advice to the MRS chapters at Boston University and CUNY.