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 Pooja N. She’s a full-time Process Engineer for the The Dow Chemical Company and mentors students online with Trilogy. Her expertise is SAT prep and she also mentors in various levels of mathematics, history, and English. She received her undergrad from Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, with a double major in chemical engineering and chemistry. She has a love for volunteering in her community (Boys & Girls Club, Carver Elementary School, and founded a mentoring program for the VCU Chemical Engineering Program) and has dreams to be a politician, serving on her local Board of Education.
Why is education important to you?
Education is important to me because it is the gateway to your dreams. I always knew that I would be going to college, but for much of my life I did not know what for. Eventually, I chose engineering and I received an excellent college education from VCU - but some of my favorite classes were in philosophy and organic chemistry. Some of my greatest learning experiences were through my internships and co-ops, where I learned how engineering can be applied to things like developing lotion and mascara packaging. I learned that being a manufacturing engineer can mean saving lives and reducing the impact of consumer goods on the environment. My formal education was the most important part of my life because it enabled me to learn through experience, however, education can come in so many forms - whether it is formal schooling or learning lessons from everyday life. Although I have graduated college, I continue my education by learning about innovators and current research through podcasts like TEDRadio, Hidden Brain, and How I Built This. I also read books, including titles such as Outliers, The Power of Habit, and The Martian.
What do you enjoy most about being an academic mentor?
I enjoy being an academic mentor because it allows me to pursue my dream of being a teacher while still being able to pursue a career as an engineer. I once lamented the loss of this dream when I chose to study engineering in school, but I am so grateful to continue my passion for teaching through the Trilogy Mentors’ platform. One of my most rewarding experiences as an academic mentor was working with an SAT student. Over the course of 2 months, we were able to raise her score by almost 200 points overall. Success on the SAT was critical to my ability to go to college for free and being able to pass on my knowledge through mentoring is priceless.
Who was an influential mentor that impacted your life? How did they help you grow?
I have had many mentors in my life. One key, influential person in my life has been my best friend, Emily. Emily and I first met when we worked in a research lab as freshmen, and although we did not like each other at first, we eventually became best friends. She taught me the importance of always seeing the good in people and situations. She also taught me that the most important thing in this world is to be a good person, above all, to serve others - and everything else will follow. She did this by learning from failure - whether on a test or a job application.
A few other role models of mine are Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and author of Lean In) and Jenn Hyman (founder and CEO of Rent the Runway). From these two women, I learned that determination and willpower can empower anyone to accomplish great things.