Latest Blog Posts

The Mentorship Program at MLWGS

November 13, 2017 / Catherine Nicholas / Blog

The mentorship program available to seniors at MLWGS is one of the things that makes the school so remarkable.  In our role as the alumni office, the Foundation has collected a number of testimonials about the impact of this program on the lives of Governor’s School graduates.  Read some of them below:

Shanthi Hiremath (’16)’s mentorship was split into two parts.  The first half was with Samantha Stone (PT, DPT, CMTPT) in physical therapy. The second half was pediatric orthopedic surgery at Tuckahoe Orthopaedics with Dr. H. Robert Tuten, Dr. Chad E. Aarons, and Dr. Chester H. Sharps.  Shanthi says, “Mentorship gave me an opportunity that is typically only available to college students and beyond, exploring a field I was really interested in,” she says.  “The mentorship research project allowed me so much freedom in picking an issue important to me, and having the experience of a large-scale paper and presentation has proved invaluable in college so far.”
*
“I have really wanted to be a teacher my whole life,” says Rachel Caldwell (’06). “However, two experiences at MLWGS really cemented my desire to pursue a career in education: the time I spent volunteering with the Newtowne Tutoring Program, and my senior year mentorship with Annie Campbell, a second grade teacher at Fox Elementary. She helped me create a vision for my own future as a teacher.” Rachel now teaches at Burnley-Moran Elementary School in Charlottesville, a position she accepted after graduating from the Curry School of Education at UVA. In 2017, she was one of just eight educators statewide to receive the prestigious Virginia Lottery Super Teacher Award.
*
“During the mentorship program I completed a mentorship with Janet Darby at Midlothian Apothecary. I was interested in medicine and wanted to experience pharmacy to see if I liked it as a career option. I completed all hours of my mentorship by December of 2010 and was then hired part-time by the pharmacy, who helped me to get my pharmacy technician license when I turned 18 in May 2011. I have worked in pharmacy ever since (and still work at the same store where I completed my mentorship, 7 years later) and am now in my third year of VCU Pharmacy School! I have always credited the mentorship program with helping me to find pharmacy as a career path, and it is one of the most special and helpful things about Maggie Walker in my opinion.” –Heather Rucker (’11)
*
“I had a mentorship studying numerical methods for general relativity with Prof. Gowdy at VCU.  When I began studying at MIT, my experience with the mentorship program made me feel very well prepared for their Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)–not just because my mentorship taught me a lot of physics I would be using there, but also because the experience of finding and working with a mentor was not brand-new to me. Building off Mrs. Parker’s training on how best to approach prospective mentors, and my own experience finding a mentor for Maggie Walker’s mentorship program, I started working with a professor as soon as I arrived in the fall, and began a formal UROP with him in the spring. I think this was a very important step in my (still ongoing) path to becoming a physicist.  The mentorship program provides both specialized knowledge in the student’s prospective profession and experience with general skills needed for life outside the classroom, and I would say this combination makes it very valuable.” – Robert Jones (’13)
*
“I completed a mentorship under Dr. Stacey Reynolds, a professor of Occupational Therapy at VCU. I cannot overstate the positive impact of this experience on the development of my current passion and pursuit of neuroscience research. My mentorship presentation was on the behavioral and neuromodulatory effects of exercise on learning-related behaviors in autism, and I am currently in a PhD program for neuroscience studying the social behaviors associated with autism. Beyond introducing me to an area of research I am still pursuing years later, my mentor also provided the guidance and encouragement to continue in this competitive line of work. The mentorship provided a unique opportunity to gain pre-undergraduate research experience, and it allowed me to develop skills as well as a knowledge base upon which to build.” – Sara Taylor (’13)
*
“I followed Dr. Stanley Furman, a geriatrician, during his rounds at the nursing homes and clinics where he worked. I did not end up pursuing medicine, and have majored in English and creative writing – the mentorship made me realize that while I have a great deal of respect for medicine, it was not for me. However, the (somewhat unorthodox) final project I pursued was the first time I had included scientific experiences and findings with creative writing.” – Annesha Sengupta (’14)
*
“My mentorship was with the VA General Assembly through the late Delegate V. Earl Dickinson, from the 56th district. My first semester involved working out of his office in Louisa while second semester was in downtown Richmond while the General Assembly was in session. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life! Del. Dickinson was the co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, which meant he had a lot of high profile visitors angling for a piece of the budget. My jobs included writing condolence letters for families of his constituents, summarizing bills for quick public consumption, attending committee meetings, preparing financial documentation for all campaign contributions and gifts, and answering phone calls. During the session, we attended various receptions with lobbyist groups, which were both fun and informative. Overall, this experience helped me to see the inner workings of state and local governance while also helping me understand the various elements that go into the personal decision-making of our officials. This experience definitely helped make me competitive in my college applications as well as in jobs and internships later in life. And as a Social Studies teacher, this experience provides me the ability to explain governmental concepts from a personal vantage point!” – Lindsey Martin Dewey (’01)
*
“I worked with Dr. Lieb in the pediatric emergency department. It was an amazing and unique experience that even many undergraduate students would not have access to. This mentorship program was instrumental for leading me to pursue medical school. Even now, as a PGY-1 resident I think back to some of the patients I had during my mentorship.” – Shannon (Huennekens) Maj (’08)
*
“I completed my mentorship as an intern in the news department at WCVE; Craig Carper was my official mentor, but I worked closely with Saraya Wintersmith and Reid Snider as well.  The experience was by far one of the most formative in my time at Maggie Walker.  I gained practical experience in communications and news writing that have been really helpful to my research and writing abilities as a college student.  My high school mentorship also helped me realize my interest in radio–it was incredibly impactful and inspired me to become involved with multiple campus radio stations.  I still have a close relationship with my mentor and the organization, and have plans to work with them during the upcoming summer.” – Mara Guyer (’17)

If you are a graduate who would like to share your story, please email Catherine Nicholas at cnicholas@mlwgsfoundation.org.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,