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eil Desai has a Phlebotomy certificate from MCC's
Academy of Health Professions, works a full-time job at
Lahey Clinic, is a current student working toward completing
prerequisites to enter the new Medical Laboratory Technology
Program, and still finds time to work as a Peer Achievement
Mentor for the Health & STEM Pathways Center.
"The courses here can be tough," said Desai. "There are a lot
of prerequisites to get through and things, in reality, can be
completely different than they seem from what you read in the
textbook. Being a peer mentor gives me an opportunity to meet
new people, get to know them and their goals, and give them
guidance when I can."
The Pathways Center uses a protégé model to pair students with
mentors. "All of our mentors are experienced MCC students
who can provide leadership and support for students who are
planning for careers in health or STEM fields," said Audrey
Frater, Academic Coordinator for Health & STEM Pathways.
"The most helpful aspect of the protégé model is being able to
talk to a fellow student," said Desai. "We've all been in the same
situation ­ it feels good to be able to help students with their
work and give them a heads up on what's to come."
But it's not always easy, said Desai. Aside from acting as tutors,
motivators, role models and advisors, Peer Achievement
Mentors are also friends. "Peer mentoring can be challenging.
Sometimes there are outside issues we can't help a student with.
But we can talk with them about it, listen to them and
encourage them," said Desai.
While the mentoring process is focused on the development of
the protégés, the peer mentors benefit as well. "Students grow
tremendously from being a mentor. It keeps them connected
with the program and with other students, and it's a good
experience to put on a resume," said Frater.
Desai enjoys his role as a peer mentor because it has helped
him make a name for himself. "Not only is it rewarding to see
students you've helped succeed, it's rewarding to be recognized
for doing it," he said. "I've learned a lot and I've become more
visible, which has helped me make important connections with
students and professionals in my field."
Tura Linderholm
Students Helping One Another
Peer Mentoring in the Pathways Center
Pathways Center Peer Achievement Mentors (left to right) Neil Desai, Pisey Teng,
Pseth Teng, Regina Sor and Natalie Suero assist health and STEM students.
Summer Bridge
Getting Off to a Good Start in Health & STEM
Phlebotomy students Matt Smolinsky (left) and Jennifer Martinez
practice drawing "blood" from a teaching tool.