On July 27 and 28 the Futures Initiative hosted its Peer Mentoring Workshop for the 2016-2017 Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring program, which was generously funded by the Teagle Foundation. Take a look at the full agenda of our workshop, and see the full photo set on Flickr.
Our first workshop day was focused around the theme of developing individual strengths and strengthening others through peer mentoring. Members of the Futures Initiative team, including Cathy Davidson, Lauren Melendez, Mike Rifino, and Thomas DeAngelis welcomed the cohort as the Peer Mentors began to get to know each other over breakfast.
Then the Mentors launched into a game of BINGO that was customized by Lauren, Mike, and Thomas so that they could learn about each other's strengths and super powers. The Mentors worked together to fill in their cards with a name that corresponded to each BINGO space on their sheets.
Following BINGO, Futures Initiative Fellow Kalle Westerling led the Mentors through a Think-Pair-Share in which they first discussed (1) Three challenges they have had as a college student; What were the outcomes that came out of these challenges? and (2) Three skills/talents they have used in working through these challenges (or helping someone else to work through them).
After a productive conversation that discussed the best ways to communicate and mediate, Futures Initiative Fellow Allison Guess led the Mentors in a group activity role play. Answering the prompt of "What makes a good mentor?" with both positive and negative outcomes, the Mentors put on short performances for the rest of the group.
Kashema Hutchinson, a PhD student in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY, next led the Mentors in a reflection activity, in which she posed the question, "Based on the think-pair-share and the role play, what are the top three most important qualities of a mentor?"
After a break for lunch, Thomas DeAngelis, PhD Student in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring Liaison, discussed with the Mentors the history of CUNY, from when it was founded in 1847 and known as the Free Academy, with the mission of providing public higher education to NYC residents, through to the present day where Futures Initiative Mentors can make a real difference.
Hilarie Ashton, a PhD Candidate in English, worked with the Mentors to Explode the Text in a highly interactive literary-driven exercise.
Louise Lennihan, Interim Provost of the Graduate Center, visited the Peer Mentoring Workshop.
Next, the Mentors were guided through a resume workshop by Kaysi Holman, Deputy Director of the Humanities Alliance.
The first day of the workshop ended with Hilarie Ashton talking to the Mentors about a book editing project, and Thomas and Lauren wrapped up the day with the Mentors through a writing exercise and concluding discussion.
The second day of the Peer Mentoring Workshop kicked off with Lauren and Mike showing the Mentors the word cloud that they generated based on the concluding writing notes of the day before. The Mentors enjoyed breakfast while Futures Initiative Deputy Director Katina Rogers explained the agenda for the day.
Javiela Evangelista, who teaches at City Tech and is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology, called in from Europe to talk to the Mentors about “The Intersectionality of Love, Social Justice, Peer Mentorship and Public Anthropology,” in which she described how activism and mentorship can advance similar goals. Students participated in a free writing activity and then shared their thoughts with the group.
Lauren Melendez, the Undergraduate Peer Mentoring Director and Administrative Specialist, guided the Mentors through an activity on "Brief Moments That Make a Difference." Mentors discussed small encounters that had great impact.
Following this discussion, Shadiq Williams, a senior at Brooklyn College, gave an overview of his own experience with mentoring and the different spaces he has had mentors and how they have impacted him.
The next activity was an exciting trivia game called "Who Wants to be a Peer Mentor?" led and refereed by Crystal Rivas, Peer Advisor Academy Coordinator for the Center for Teaching & Learning at LaGuardia Community College. The Mentors wore leis, tossed a ball, and worked together to find answers to common CUNY questions.
Once the game wrapped up and everyone returned to their seats, Thomas guided the Mentors through a reflection activity, asking the Mentors what their biggest leftover was of the morning, before the group took a lunch break.
After lunch, Mike Rifino, Graduate Fellow and Peer Mentoring Specialist, showed the Mentors a short film about a student at LaGuardia Community College who was facing many challenges. He asked the Mentors to divide themselves by campus and put together a list of resources that they could use to help the student from the video.
Futures Initiative Graduate Fellows Danica Savonick and Lisa Tagliaferri showed the Mentors the Futures Initiative Commons In A Box site that they could use to put their resources online and connect each other. They also discussed the peer mentoring app Rungway.
The next part of the workshop was entirely Mentor-driven, as the Futures Initiative team left the room and the students created the agenda for their year as Peer Mentors. Together, their task was to outline three main goals they wanted to accomplish as a group.
When the Futures Initiative team returned an hour later, the Mentors walked everyone through their mission, their plans, and their goals.
Finally, we stood around in a circle to reflect on the past two days and shared one major take-away from the session and how we would work to build a great community together.
We are looking forward to a great year with the Futures Initiative Peer Mentors!