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Alumni and Students Connect Through Mentoring

Alumni and Students Connect Through Mentoring


Morristown, N.J. (June 25, 2019) – Rachel Richardson, '09, is a successful licensed real estate agent with a thriving business and a jam-packed schedule who credits Saint Elizabeth University with helping her get to where she is today. But when Mayelin Torres, SEU's mentoring and experiential learning coordinator, invited her to share her valuable professional experience and insights mentoring a current student, Richardson was hesitant and thoughtful of her time commitments. Where would she find the time amid her hectic day-to-day activities?

Calling upon her servant's heart, fostered and encouraged in her years at SEU, Richardson prayed and reflected upon Torres' offer. Being the owner of Richardson Advisors, LLC, her schedule was limited. However, Richardson knew that God was calling her to say yes and to make the time to get involved with her alma mater.

A year later, she doesn't regret her decision. In fact, she is grateful for the benefits both she and her mentee, business major George Vega, '21, will continue to reap through their continuing bond. Vice president of SEU's Business Club, Vega already recognized the significance of making professional connections. He knew that now was the time to practice the skills necessary to succeed in the world of business. As part of the program, Richardson and Vega met on campus, exchanged emails and attended events.

Richardson herself benefited from investing in Vega's future. When she found out he earned a paid summer internship, Richardson celebrated the exciting news with him.

"I felt like I won, like I got the internship," Richardson said. "George is amazing and bright. He focuses on his studies and has a good approach to life. He inspires me!"

Like Richardson, Johanna O'Bannon, '02, briefly thought about the time commitment when Torres approached her in 2017. Nevertheless, O'Bannon, who is a microbiology quality control supervisor at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, readily accepted the invitation.

A former Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student who studied biology, O'Bannon wished she could have had a mentoring experience as part of her SEU journey. Throughout her career, O'Bannon participated in teaching and training, but she wanted to start sharing her knowledge with SEU students and biology major Angela German, '20, who needed some guidance.

German's parents are in the medical field, but she wanted to explore options working in research or in a laboratory and knew the mentoring program would provide that direction and support. O'Bannon encouraged German to build on her extensive volunteer work in her field through paid internships. Unfortunately, several opportunities didn't work due to scheduling conflicts, so German turned to her mentor and learned about internships at Ferring.

"Next thing I knew, HR was sending me the acceptance packet," said German.

The experience was a win-win for both mentor and mentee. German gained important experience in a laboratory setting and O'Bannon further honed her leadership skills supervising her mentee.

"The best part about this program is that we, as professionals, also get to learn from the mentees," said O'Bannon.

Learn more about SEU's mentoring program here: