Mentorship is an essential function of higher education, and can dramatically improve a student's college experience. However, our historically marginalized students often don't have the opportunity to form connections with mentors that can aid in their academic, professional, and personal development. Furthermore, with recent restrictions on student activities funding and the virtual nature of most academic programs, many students are finding themselves lacking access and opportunity to potential mentors. NYU could improve retention of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ+, dis/abled, international, and other marginalized students by connecting them with individuals that share similar identities and/or experiences. However, mentorship programs are often lacking intentionality and are not scholarship-based.
NYU Steinhardt's Office of Equity, Belonging, and Community Action aims to improve one of the many inequities in higher education (retention and success of our most vulnerable students) using scholarship - and the program is designed to increase the social and cultural capital of our students.
With an intentional focus on BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other historically marginalized identities, this fund will be used to empower students seeking mentorship by covering meals and professional development activities, and for incentives for our mentors to form meaningful connections with our mentees. What may begin as an informational interview or informal lunch can lead to more meaningful conversations that encourage student success, letters of recommendation for graduate school, and connections to other helpful resources that ensure our students are getting the support that they need from someone they trust.