Explore the Impact of Academic Mentorship
“My Mentor…” posts are short pieces written by members of the Trilogy community to highlight their passion and the mentors that had an impact in their lives. This post is written by Binal P. She’s a full-time student, studying biochemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has always loved being a peer role model and helping others meet their individual goals, treasuring the opportunity to share her own knowledge and expertise with new students and mentees.
Why is education important to you?
Martin Luther King Junior once stated, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”
Education has always allowed me to challenge myself in new areas, whether that is through my core classes, or through the experiences I have faced throughout my academic career. I have always advocated for opportunities in education and believe that education makes an individual who they are. Without an education, individuals are not able to obtain certain opportunities. Being an individual that has the opportunity to receive an education, I want to help others gain access to the same opportunity.
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be like my dad. I wanted to earn a master’s degree in some field of science like he did. Even though my path involves medical school, upon graduating from medical school, I would like to earn a master’s in medical science. This is a two-year postgraduate degree in medical research. Graduate school has always been a goal and I hope to, one day, achieve it.
What do you enjoy most about being an academic mentor?
Being an academic mentor has allowed me to appreciate the little moments. I still remember the first time I was in a session with one of my mentees, and the smile on her face when she correctly solved the math problem we’d been working on, all by herself. It was at that moment, I truly felt that I was making a difference in her academic career. I enjoy being able to impact and inspire other students to strive to their full potential.
An academic mentor utilizes their knowledge and expertise in a manner that inspires others. For me, being an academic mentor means that I am able to successfully train students to critically think and not just memorize. It is difficult to do this, but I have allowed myself to fail before I succeed. I always keep going and I do not give up on anyone! Everyone deserves an academic mentor that wants them to succeed as much as they do.
Who was your mentor? How did they have an impact on your life?
Throughout my life, I have had many mentors - from teachers and student peers, to my parents, research professors, and academic advisors. They all have contributed to my success as an individual and as an academic mentor as well. I have always believed that anyone can have a mentor and anyone can be a mentor.
One influential mentor, that has impacted my life significantly, is a graduate student in the biology department at Virginia Commonwealth University named Nicole. She was my mentor for my sophomore year as an undergraduate student and taught me the skills needed for graduate school and how to present myself professionally. My mentor and I worked together to create a list of goals that I would like to work on as the year progressed. We would talk about my growth each time we met. One of the main goals I had was to conduct research. With my mentor’s support and guidance, I was able to get into a class that conducts research within my career interest and was also able to do an independent research study within my major. Another goal that I had was to prepare for my graduate school application. Nicole advised me on what I needed to do in order to be a competitive applicant for several programs. She never made me feel incompetent but always gave me the opportunity to showcase my talents and abilities. She created a positive relationship and safe space for us to share our dreams and aspirations in life. Overall, she helped me grow academically and professionally.
If you are looking for an academic mentor in Biology, Chemistry, or Algebra, ask for Binal!
For more on Trilogy's Mentors, follow our "My Mentor..." series.
Here is our last post from Amy L. - The Impact of Academic Mentorship