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Mentoring Gives Students A Glimpse Into Possible Futures

Mary Jyoti Duwady is starting her senior year of high school while dually enrolled at Montgomery College. However, she spent part of the summer preparing for life beyond that. For three weeks in July, she worked with MC’s Miriam Laufer at the Germantown Campus as part of the Summer R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience) program. The locally funded initiative provides MCPS juniors and seniors with career development experiences in the summer.

Miriam Laufer managing the reception desk in the WRLC

Laufer is Montgomery College’s manager of the Writing, Reading, and Language Center (WRLC) on the Germantown Campus, and participated as a mentor this year. “We love working with our student aides and the students we tutor, so mentoring a high school intern seemed like a logical next step,” Laufer said. The Summer R.I.S.E program, now in its second year, is led by WorkSource Montgomery in collaboration with MCPS, MC, and other partners.

The Montgomery County Council featured Laufer and Jyoti in a video about the program. Laufer said that being a part of the video was a great experience, especially “listening to Jyoti talk about her experience with the internship and hearing how much she had learned about the center as well as her own professional preferences.”

Jyoti worked on the same tasks that the student aides normally do, like staffing the front desk and scheduling appointments, but she also worked on promotional projects like creating flyers and a promotional video. “I focused on getting a few projects done and giving her as much of a professional experience as we could in that time frame,” Laufer said.

She experienced typical workdays with their unpredictability. “My co-workers gave me plenty of opportunities to problem-solve tasks and learn as I go,” Jyoti said. “It gave me a chance to experience what it’s like being a part of a workforce with mentors who also taught me new things every day.”

As Montgomery College strives for student success, we hosted the program for the second year to reflect the college mission in empowering our students to change their lives, and to enrich the life of our community – Enas Elhanafi

As for future impact, she said it will help her figure out what she likes, such as interacting with people and working with novel things, and doesn’t like to do, such as repetitive tasks. “I have a clearer idea of what my future major and career will look like. It helped me to avoid investing time and energy on a major/career only to switch because it’s not clicking for me.” She will be dually enrolled as a senior at Northwest and an MC student this fall.

The WRLC in Germantown staff with Mary Jyoti Duwady right center.

“We hope that this summer learning experience at MC was exciting and inspiring in sparking students’ interests,” said Enas Elhanafi, associate director of community engagement, and coordinator of the Summer R.I.S.E. career development program at MC. She said it is important for faculty and staff to participate in the program: “As Montgomery College strives for student success, we hosted the program for the second year to reflect the college mission in empowering our students to change their lives, and to enrich the life of our community.”

Laufer said she was surprised by how much they were able to fit into three weeks, and how much working on projects with Jyoti invigorated the end of the summer for the WRLC staff. “I would definitely like to do this again next year,” she said.

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