Beyond the Classroom: SPHHS students join NEACSM peer mentoring program

Clockwise from top left: Casey Noonan, Connor Saleeba,
Amanda Dubois, and Alec Shostek

October 19, 2017

Four undergraduate students are advancing their academic careers, joining the New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine’s (NEACSM) inaugural Peer Mentor Program. Seniors Connor Saleeba and Alec Shostek (Kinesiology), along with Amanda Dubois and Casey Noonan (Public Health Sciences), will be attending this year’s NEACSM Annual Fall Conference being held October 19-20, in Providence, RI, as a result.

The NEACSM Peer Mentor Program aims to create reciprocal relationships between undergraduate mentees and professional/graduate mentors among NEACSM members, who will help their mentees learn to navigate an academic conference. Kinesiology doctoral candidate Sarah Burkart, the department’s NEACSM Student Representative-Elect, explains the program is meant to expose undergraduate students to networking and leadership opportunities in the organization, as well as the skills needed to navigate an academic conference while mentors will gain valuable leadership and career-building opportunities.

Connor Saleeba is looking forward to taking advantage of “a resource I can turn to for research and graduate school advice.” Similarly, Alec Shostek is excited “not only to learn about research and graduate school from my mentor, but also to be representing a school that I love.”

Casey Noonan intends “to illustrate that there is a lot to gain from a program like this, so that more students may be interested in the future.” She adds, “I accepted the position because it seemed like the conference would be more beneficial for me if I had someone with prior experience to show me how to make the best out of my time there.”

“I am very excited that I was selected to take part in piloting this new program at the upcoming NEACSM Fall Conference,” says Amanda Dubois. “I believe that the program will be a great addition to my first exposure to a professional conference. I anticipate this experience will be a fantastic opportunity in networking and in advancing personal and professional skills both within and beyond the NEACSM networks.”

Both Noonan and Dubois learned about the program through their participation in the Pediatric Physical Activity Lab run by Associate Professor of Kinesiology Sofiya Alhassan. “What drew me in and urged me to apply was the opportunity to really advance my professional skills under the guidance of someone who had been in my position not long ago,” recalls Dubois.

The program was funded through an ACSM Foundation Grant written by Kinesiology doctoral candidate and current NEACSM Student Representative Brittany Masteller.

Masteller says, “I am very excited to see the peer mentor program come to life at the 2017 fall meeting! A peer mentorship program was highly requested by the NEACSM student membership as an opportunity to become more involved with the New England chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the leading organizations in our field. Learning to navigate a conference and fostering mentoring relationships are crucial parts of professional development that we hope to promote with the inaugural year of the peer mentor program.”