Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Aunt Hannah" Mentorship Program Brings Boston DGs Together

I am writing this from Boston Logan Airport as I wait for my flight to London shortly after the explosions occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It has been an emotional day of a range of emotions including excitement, fear, and sorrow. As I checked in with our fellow Delta Gamma alumnae sisters who were running the marathon to make sure they were safe I was overwhelmed with emotions. I moved to Boston about three years ago from New York after finishing my AmeriCorps service to start a new position with Harvard Medical School. I was unaccustomed to the city and did not know a single person. Immediately I reached out to the Boston Delta Gamma Alumnae Chapter and before I knew it I met fellow alumnae, attended social gatherings, and volunteered for Service for Sight. Before I knew it, I had a network of engaged, driven, and smart women to spend time with. When I heard of an opportunity to get matched with a collegian in a mentorship program called “Aunt Hannah” through the alumnae chapter I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved as an alumnae. I also understood the challenges and frustrations of finding a mentor and how difficult it could be to navigate student life, academia, and chartering your path as a young professional.

As an “Aunt Hannah” I was matched with Amy Bryson a Delta Gamma at Boston University’s Zeta Zeta chapter who at the time was studying international relations with a focus on international systems, public health, and economics. Now she is teaching a 6th grade science and social studies class at a Title-1, failing middle school in Atlanta, GA through Teach For America. Her students face gaps in literacy up to four grade levels (meaning 6th graders are reading and writing at 2nd grade level). However, currently her students are writing five paragraph argumentative essays on the level of the 8th grade-writing test based on clips from 60 Minutes and New York Times Articles about high-level, cross-content topics such as Fracking for Oil Shale or Privatizing Water. This is a testimony of her incredible strength, determination, and passion for ensuring children have access to high quality education to provide opportunities to rise out of poverty.

Over the years I have been a mentee and a mentor in numerous mentorship programs both when I was an undergraduate, graduate student, and now as a young professional. Often it can be challenging, lacking structure, and sometimes even awkward. A true mentorship relationship embodies a balance between listening and problem solving. I have learned a vast amount from being an “Aunt Hannah” during late night Skype sessions with Amy discussing the challenges of being a leader, working in low resource impoverished settings and not getting burn out, trying to navigate uncharted carrier territory, and making graduate school decisions. It has been truly rewarding and has deepened the meaning of my life long membership as a Delta Gamma alumna. I believe through mentorship alumnae can provide guidance and a platform for discussion of hard topics such as finding a true balance as a professional, navigating the grey area of making career decisions, and the gender gap.  

Ariella Camera, Alpha Chi-Penn State, is a Master’s Degree Candidate in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, at Brandeis University. She transplanted to Boston three years ago where she works at the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) and is VP Membership of the Boston Delta Gamma Alumnae Chapter. You can reach Ariella at 

Boston Delta Gamma Alumnae Chapter: The Delta Gamma Boston alumnae chapter supports Zeta Phi- Harvard and Zeta Zeta- Boston University collegiate chapters in a variety of different ways. Throughout the year, alumnae interact with collegians at Founders Day, Foundation activities, and social events like an annual senior tea. Additionally, alumnae provide support for both chapters by volunteering at recruitment and raising funds for several scholarships. In recent years, the alumnae chapter has integrated a mentorship component through “Aunt Hannah” programming, which has spanned from alumnae getting matched with collegians based on professional interests to mentorship-focused events. Boston alumnae look forward to strengthening this mentoring program to better provide collegians and alumnae an opportunity to meaningfully connect.

No comments:

Post a Comment