Building Future Leaders

The Mentor Program within The Leadership Institute pairs up students to help navigate their time at Kean

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Building Future Leaders
Mentor Olga Luna with her mentee Jamie Brennan.
Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer

The Leadership Institute is a program offered at Kean through the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) which helps guide and give resources to student leaders to build them up to their fullest potential. They achieve this through a variety of different means, such as academic programming, service projects and the community of peers they have created. Another way that The Leadership Institute helps its students to become successful student leaders is through their Leader2Leader Mentor Program.

The Leader2Leader Mentor Program came to The Leadership Institute only a few years ago and consists of pairing upperclassmen students with freshmen and having them meet, to ease the freshman into college life.The goal of this program is for students to have a peer that they know they can go to for guidance, navigating through campus and to lean on in times of need.

The Leadership Institute has seen more growth in its members since enacting this Leadaer2Leader Mentor Program, as it provides students with more resources as well as reassurance. One pair that can attest to this are mentor O. Xiomara Luna and her mentee, Jaime Brennan. The two have only been recently matched this semester, as Brennan is a freshman, and the two have already been able to build an everlasting bond.

Brennan joined The Leadership Institute as a Bronze leader this semester after hearing about the program through an email. She is a commuter student, so she knew that she wanted to make the most of her time here at Kean when she is on campus.

"I wanted to seize every opportunity to be a part of the campus community,” said Brennan. "Since I am a commuter, The Leadership Institute provided me with a sense of belonging, purpose, and identity."

Luna is a psychology major with a minor in communications, and has an expected graduation of May 2020. She joined the L.E.A.D. program within The Leadership Institute in January 2019, as she also found out about this program via email.

She said, “Being part of The Leadership Institute is empowering. In addition to having a broad sense of belonging to the Kean family, I also feel that, as an active member of Leadership, I have a duty to epitomize that which embodies a Kean Leader: progressiveness, evolution, creativity, fairness and resilience, to name a few qualities."

The members of The Leadership Institute are given opportunities to meet and mingle with their prospective mentors or mentees. Brennan and Luna met at one of the events and clicked through their personalities and their common major - psychology. When they got the news that they were a match, they were very excited to get to know each other on a much more personal basis.

Luna said, “I was very excited to get to know Jaime more in depth. Now that I know her better, I have come to realize that the mentor/mentee relationship is one of mutual respect, learning, creativity and growth. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to mentor Jaime."

Being a mentor or a mentee entails meeting and connecting with each other in regard to academics, professional endeavors and peer guidance. They can also provide each other with campus resources and other information to help each other's time at Kean proceed smoothly.

In Brennan and Luna's pair, they do just that.

Brennan said, "Luna is so supportive and uplifting. She has this calming maternal presence but is still a friend. This is a very unique connection that I have never had with someone before and it allows me to trust her."

To learn more about The Leadership Institute, be sure to check out their Cougar Link page, email or call (908) 737-5170.

about the author
Sheehan Shannon - web

Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer

Shannon Sheeehan is a Junior Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She joined The Cougar's Byte staff in Spring 2018. After her time at Kean, Shannon hopes to start her professional career in Public Relations and/or Social Media.