Reflections on the Lurie College Promise Group

SJSU Lurie College of Education Promise Group 2019 Fall

I wish I had a program like the Promise Group when I was a first-year college student.  I progressed through undergrad as a first-generation student, all the way to becoming a professor at SJSU.  However, it took years to find mentors who could best help me toward success.  Today, I am thrilled to be part of a program that facilitates that search and provides mentorship for SJSU students.

The Promise Group fosters a caring and supportive community of belonging, encourages relationship building, and cultivates a culture of appreciation, which reflects the “holistic” goal of the Lurie College of Education’s strategic plan.

  • Supportive Community of Belonging – Serving as a faculty mentor has given me opportunities to build meaningful relationships with my student mentees.  My mentors continue to be an important part of my life and I am glad to be that for my students today.  For instance, I have watched one mentee progress and graduate with her bachelor’s degree and my other mentee has started college in the most difficult of circumstances – during a global pandemic.  Our regular meetings have not only helped her develop strategies for success in college but help both of us feel a sense of connection, especially while we all work remotely.
  • Relationship Building – Serving as a faculty mentor has not only been about me imparting my knowledge and wisdom, but I am always learning from my mentee.  Whether it’s how to order Boba tea, keeping up with pop culture, or brainstorming teaching and research ideas together, I leave every encounter with a new perspective and a better sense of my mentee as a complete person.
  • Appreciation – It brings me great pride and joy to recognize and appreciate all of my mentee’s accomplishments and progress.  We celebrate small wins after each meeting (like getting a paper submitted), and BIG wins, like getting their first full-time job after graduation.  It is exciting to serve as their cheerleader along their academic journey!

…and speaking of appreciation: a big Thank you goes out to Donna Bee-Gates for all of her hard work in leading this group, and for pairing me with amazing mentees.  Watching all members of the group develop over time and successfully move into their next adventure is a highpoint of my work at SJSU.

– Dina Izenstark, Assistant Professor in Child and Adolescent Development

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