31 October 2017

Minority Student Mentoring Program Provides Support

Female student meeting with faculty member.“You can’t have enough help.” That was Monica Henderson’s reason for participating in the Minority Student Mentoring Program. (Monica is pictured with her mentor, Donna Corbisiero, Assistant Professor in the Division of Liberal Arts.) The Human Services major decided this semester to be matched with a mentor through the new program that grew out of an initiative developed by Dr. Steady Moono, SUNY SCCC President.

Mentors are members of the College’s faculty and staff who provide their mentees with academic and personal support through regular mentoring sessions, career coaching, seminars, workshops, and fieldtrips. “I really hope to gain better grades and just a better way of dealing with school,” Monica said. Her mentor Donna Corbisiero, Assistant Professor in the Division of Liberal Arts, decided to become a mentor based on her own experiences. “I signed up for the Mentor program because I felt my background as a child of uneducated immigrants might be relatable to some students who just don’t have the parental support or experience and have to navigate the world of college on their own,” she said. “I want to be able to serve as a support for a student who wants to succeed and just needs a guiding hand to help them on this path.”

Male student sitting with two faculty members working on paperwork.It’s a good program especially for international students because they are away from their families, in a new environment. Having a mentor can help you adapt and feel more at home. It will also build connections that will eventually help students succeed," said Ranjit Khadka, Computer Information Systems major and international student from Nepal. He is shown with Dr. Syeda Munaim, Professor in the Division of Math, Science, Technology and Health, and Stephen Tyson, Adjunct Faculty Member in the Division of Liberal Arts. 

Dr. Babette Faehmel, Associate Professor in the Division of Liberal Arts, is coordinating the program. She explained that mentors participated in training sessions including a workshop with former students, school counselors, and community members on “microaggressions” – “the casual degradation of any marginalized group”– which education researchers recognize as a factor negatively impacting student retention and completion.

As part of their continuing training, mentors plan to attend the 2017 SUNY Diversity Conference, and Dr. Faehmel recently attended the Black and Latino Male Image: Rewriting the Narrative Conference at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. 

Stephen Tyson, Adjunct Faculty Member in the Division of Liberal Arts (shown in the photo above), is a mentor. “Mentoring is an opportunity for me to give back in light of those educators who were helpful and encouraging to me as I navigated the academic path of my college years.”

Any students interested in the program may contact Dr. Faehmel,, (518) 381-1260, Elston Hall 400B.