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Drew University Student-Turned-Professor Has Full-Circle Experience

Adijat Mustapha C’11, assistant teaching professor of psychology, took part in Drew’s Summer College as a student mentor, professor

July 2022 – Drew University student-turned-professor Adijat Mustapha C’11 recently taught in Drew’s Summer College, coming full circle from her time as a student mentor in the program.

Mustapha, assistant teaching professor of psychology, spent two years as a student mentor in the Summer College program, which brings high school juniors and seniors to campus to experience life as a college student in and out of the classroom for a full week each summer.

Mustapha taught the equivalent of a Psychology 101 course, giving the students a sense of the first-year class vibe.

As she led the class, Mustapha reflected on her time as a key component to the program – the undergraduate student mentor.

“My experience as a student mentor was extremely fulfilling in many ways,” she said. “I came from a background that is not at all unlike those of the high school students who attend the program. I personally know the experience of trying to sort out possible college admission and attendance and all the hurdles associated with socioeconomic restrictions or not having many people around who have had the privilege of attending college themselves.”

As a student mentor, she helped the high schoolers to narrow down lists of potential schools to apply to; write their personal statements; and understand financial aid options.

“I also hoped that talking to them about my personal experiences—as someone who came from the same type of under-resourced neighborhoods and schools, as an immigrant, as a racial/ethnic minority—would help them realize the possibilities for their futures, despite what other contradictory messages they may have received from society.”

Having seen the value of the program first-hand, Mustapha jumped at the chance to get involved with the program as a professor.

“My experience as a professor for the sample class is a reflection of my overall experience as a professor in Drew’s Psychology Department,” she said.

“It is the epitome of a full-circle experience. As I taught the class, and looked at the current student mentors (some of whom have actually been enrolled in a number of my psychology classes), I could not help but reflect on my own journey. I have been blessed to be in the position that I am currently in. I am eternally grateful for the mentors I have had at different stages of my education and training, and to Drew for being the foundation to my academic and professional success.”

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