In one of their many bonding events held throughout the year, the Multicultural Peer Mentoring Project (MP2) recently visited the North Star Orchard to enjoy the crisp fall season, delicious apples, and great company.
Now in its eighth year, MP2 pairs up first-year students with mentors who support them as they go through their first two semesters of college. The program aims to specifically help international, first-generation, and historically underrepresented students, but all first-years students looking to be paired up with a mentor are welcome to join. Assistant Dean for International Students and Accessibility Allen Harrison oversees all of MP2.
The group has grown since its inception as this year 46 mentors have been connected with 94 mentees. One mentor is typically paired up with two mentees based on similar personal and academic interests, giving the mentees a chance to not only connect with an upperclassman friend but also someone else in their year. The groups are encouraged to build a friendship by enjoying meals together, exploring off-campus activities and restaurants, and simply getting to know one another.
“The apple picking trip with MP2 was the perfect stress reliever for me, especially because my schedule is packed with exams and essays this upcoming week,” mentee Arpita Banik ’23 said, also expressing how she enjoyed bonding with her mentor, Maya Amy ’20. “Hearing about Maya's experience doing a summer research project has also inspired me explore different fields of research I would be passionate about.”
Edgar Otero ’20 is one of the four head peer mentors this year, helping oversee the program and organize entire group outings. He joined the program as a first-year and has been a mentor ever since.
In reflecting on his experience with MP2, he commented, “My mentor had such a tremendous impact on my life as a first-year student, and he really helped ground me as I navigated this new environment which brought its own set of challenges as a first-generation student with an underrepresented identity … I knew I had to give back to this program and do the same for new students who may be going through the same types of struggles I did when I was in their shoes.”
Past and future events for MP2 mentors and mentees include trips to Destiny USA in Syracuse and Broadway shows featured in Utica, as well as organized times to play capture the flag or bake desserts with each other. The program also provides academic and professional resources, working with the Career Center to set up workshops and reaching out to professors to have dinners with mentees.