Accelerated Mentor Program Connects SU Students With Local Mentees
SALISBURY, MD---Ten Salisbury University psychology students have the opportunity to enhance their educational and professional prospects while, perhaps more importantly, making a positive impact on middle and high school-aged youths through the new Accelerated Mentor Program (AMP).
The initiative, funded by a $7,000 grant from the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs, brings together sophomore, junior and senior SU psychology majors with community youths from the area who will work on collaborative community-action research projects. The Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts Dean's Office also contributed $2,400 to the program.
The SU AMP students begin the fall semester receiving advanced training on key psychological theories pertaining to activism and advocacy from community psychology while being paired with psychology professionals of Color in and outside of the academic realm, who will serve as their mentors.
The SU students will, in turn, train area middle and high school-aged mentees, finding common interests and building relationships before being grouped together for projects which they will have the opportunity to develop on their own.
“We don’t tell the students what to do with their research project,” said Dr. Yuki Okubo, co-principal investigator for the program. “We allow the students to develop their project based on their interests. When the students are passionate about the project, it can offer deeper impact on the students.”
The goal is for the SU students to form a relationship with their mentees while providing them with an exposure to the basics of psychology, as well as a clear understanding of what the college experience may offer them.
Both the SU students and youth mentees will benefit from the program by learning the wide array of opportunities within the psychology field.
“The field of psychology is so broad. We often have students come in with the idea that they will be a psychologist or a counselor, but there are many other fields to which psychology can lead,” said Dr. Michele Schlehofer, co-principal investigator for the program. “Through AMP, the students have the opportunity to see the many different avenues that they could pursue within the field, and they will have the opportunity to put that knowledge to work within their own project.”
The research projects will be organized in conjunction with Fenix Youth Project and the 1 Year to Empowerment Program, both local organizations which have helped connect the youth mentees with Okubo and Schlehofer for AMP.
With the freedom to develop their own projects, the AMP student-mentee groups will have the opportunity to be creative in their implementation and be able to experiment with any number of modalities in their research.
SU students will apply to have the opportunity to present their findings at national academic conferences, such as the 2021 Columbia University Teachers College Winter Roundtable Conference.
SU is one of three programs in the nation to receive the APA funding in the “Undergraduate/Graduate Innovations” category. The intent is for the funding to be a seed grant for the program, with the objective of extending the current AMP students to a second year and hopefully developing the program to a continual venture in SU’s Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts.
“The Accelerated Mentorship Program carries so many positive aspects, not only for SU and the students involved, but for the mentees and the local community which will benefit from the community-action research projects,” said Dr. Maarten Pereboom, dean of the Fulton School. “This is truly a community-building project.”
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the AMP webpage at www.salisbury.edu/academic-offices/liberal-arts/psychology/accelerated-mentor-program.aspx