Name: Mia Spad
Major: Public Health Studies and Psychological and Brain Sciences
Hometown and State: New Fairfield, CT
Group Name: Mentoring Assistance Peer Program (MAPP)
As a junior, I like to think I’m solidly planted at Hopkins — I’ve found my niche and I feel at home in Baltimore. While my friends have become a second family to me, I feel particularly lucky because I’ve stumbled upon an additional group of people I can always count on: my MAPP Family. I’m both a mentor and a member of the Leadership Committee for the Mentoring Assistance Peer Program (MAPP), which is a Hopkins mentorship program for underrepresented students. Specifically, we cater to freshman and provide year-long support and guidance for them as they go through their first year at JHU. We’re comprised of about thirty to thirty five mentors, sophomores through seniors, and each of us gets four to five freshman mentees that we’re responsible for. Out of the larger organization we’re split into families: my individual MAPP family consists of myself, my own mentees, along with an assigned grouping of three to four other mentors and their mentees too. As mentors we regularly program events for our freshman mentees. These programs range from social, such as a trip to the Inner Harbor to explore Baltimore, or academic, where we arrange for panels with academic advisors so our mentees can learn about different majors, or cultural, where we celebrate Latin Heritage Month by learning how to salsa dance.
Now the official role I play is ‘mentor’, however I can safely say after my second year as a part of MAPP that the bond I have with my mentees, who I inexplicably always end up referring to as ‘my babies’ each year, is so much more than the formally labelled mentor-mentee relationship; we’re friends; we’re a support system. I know that for them it’s a comfort to always have someone they can turn to if they need to just talk to or hang out with if they’re having a bad day, and in turn they’ve become a comfort to me as well. The same can be said for all my fellow mentors in MAPP; I’ve met some amazing people through this program that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m always texting someone something funny, running to a coffee date with someone else, and looking forward to an upcoming MAPP family dinner or get together. Being a MAPP mentor has transcended from being an organization I’m a part of into being a integrated part of my regular life, and the people in it are not just fellow members or mentees in the program but my friends.
As a freshman mentee, you can expect your mentor to be there for you rain or shine, which you need sometimes! Don’t get me wrong, freshman year here at Hopkins has by far been my favorite year, but even the best experiences can have their rough patches. As a seasoned veteran of whatever can possibly come, I help my mentees with everything from figuring out how to study, what clubs they should join, how to handle a fight with their roommate, and everything in between. Along the way you meet a ton of other freshman and friendly upperclassmen, learn a thing or two about Hopkins and Baltimore, and most importantly you get unlimited advice from your mentor. What better way to figure out freshman year than have the guidance of someone who’s already done it?