Impactful Moments with Milken Mentors and Mentees

Published 03/04/2024 in Program Updates
Written by Reyes, Natalie | 03/04/2024

“Our relationship has transcended the circumstance that has brought us together — that being mentorship. The joy and humor that has come about from these experiences has really served to cement a permanent relationship between myself and Hannah, and has proven that we are indeed intertwined for the rest of the time we are on campus and in life,” said Ayan Rahman, MS ’20.

Stepping onto campus for the first time might include excitement, uncertainty, challenges, and opportunities for any freshman. To help new Scholars adjust to college life, the Milken Scholars Program pairs incoming Scholars with mentors on or near their campus.

Ayan Rahman, MS ‘20, attributes the experience he had with his mentor, Nicole Litvitskiy, MS ’16, “her graciousness, kindness, and intentionality,” as having most definitely influenced his methods as a mentor now to Hannah Menghis, MS ‘22.

During Hannah’s first few weeks at Brown, Ayan mentioned a handful of ways he helped his mentee including, “registering for classes, understanding grade option change deadlines, and navigating a predominantly upper class and white space on campus.” Hannah responded, “I felt so lucky to not only already have someone I knew on campus, but to have someone I could call a friend.”  Ayan fondly recalls the moments he was in “super mentor mode” and he was “pulling Hannah by the ear and taking her to appointments to meet community and staff at the U-FLi and Swearer Center,” places that support underrepresented student populations and focus on community engagement.

Their mentor-mentee dynamic soon transformed into a close friendship and they have become a part of each other’s broader circles. Although Hannah’s first birthday in college landed during a stressful period before finals and winter break, Ayan, along with Daniel Kim, MS ‘20, showed up to Hannah’s dorm door and surprised her with all her friends and a package from Hannah’s mother. “Ayan has consistently gone out of his way to make my days a little brighter and for that I am always grateful to have him in my life,” said Hannah.

However, not all mentors and mentees share the same campus. For example, Justin Yeh, MS ‘19, a senior at Harvey Mudd became a mentor to Alejandro Quiroz, MS ‘22, who was starting his first year at Claremont McKenna College. Even though both schools are within the Claremont McKenna Consortium, they have distinct resources and cultures, but that did not stop Justin from taking Alejandro under his wing and finding time to meet up for frequent Milken Scholar mentor-mentee meals.

While having a lot in common with your mentee is great, Justin found that the real value of their mentor-mentee relationship came from their differences. “From Alejandro, I learned a great deal about some of the resources that Claremont McKenna offered but Harvey Mudd lacked. On the flip side, there were certain subjects that I enjoyed but Alejandro did not, so I was able to recommend which professors would provide the best experience and teach the class as well as possible. At times, you may not even have been able to tell who was the mentor and who was the mentee,” said Justin.

The Milken Scholars Program thanks our Scholar mentors who make this component of our Program a highlight of so many Scholars’ college experience.