Mount Students Mentoring the Next Generation

NEWBURGH – From hands-on lab activities to one-on-one training sessions, Mount Saint Mary College Nursing students are mentoring nearly 50 high school students from Newburgh Free Academy, to enhance their academic performance and prepare them for careers in healthcare.

Peer Achievement through Leadership and Scholarship (PALS), sponsored by the Mount’s School of Nursing, is a five-week program aimed at inspiring academic success in the students enrolled in NFA North campus’ Nurse Aid Training program.

“It’s important to give back to the community,” noted Nicholas Terzulli of Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the Mount Nursing mentors and president of the college’s Nursing Student Union. “When I was a high school student, I remember the stress of [transitioning to] college. I wish I had someone to look up to. I want to be that person for them.”

Through workshops, nursing-related tutoring, visits to the Mount’s state-of-the-art nursing laboratories, and more, Mount mentors are fostering excellence in the next generation of students interested in careers in healthcare. By providing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful at the college level, the PALS program puts these NFA students on the fast-track to success.

The Mount mentors also make classroom visits to the NFA North campus to offer their mentees support in coursework, study, and other skills necessary for a successful transition from high school to college.

“Nursing is such a prestigious field to enter and they will gain so much,” said Nicole Laghezza of Sayville, N.Y., one of the Mount Nursing mentors. Laghezza added that she hopes her and her peers’ mentorship will help the NFA students to make the transition from high school senior to college freshman more easily.

Shannon Christiano of Yaphank, N.Y., another Mount Nursing mentor, echoed Laghezza’s sentiment: “I hope that the NFA students, at the end the program, realize that they are capable of more than they think, and that if they work hard and use their resources, the sky is the limit,” she said.

According to program coordinators Linda Kelly, assistant professor of Nursing at the Mount, and Linda Romano, Health Sciences Educator at NFA North, PALS highlights three of the four pillars of Dominican life on which the Mount was founded: study, service, and community.

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