Friday, May 13, 2016

Helen Arteaga (CAS ’99) Alumni Mentor and Stephanie Stanley (CAS ’18) Student Mentee on the CAS Alumni Mentorship Program

“The energy they give back to you is amazing!” - Helen Arteaga (CAS ’99)
Helen Arteaga
Can you tell us about your experience acting as a mentor this semester?

I loved my mentee! Mentoring Stephanie reminded me that I can still do so much more. As we get older, and set in our careers and caught up in projects, we can forget that. Her energy reminded me that there are still more possibilities out there.

What advice did you give your student mentee?

I advised Stephanie to articulate in ten words or less what she wanted to do, and to match her research and internship project to her end goal. I also told her that there is no such thing as a straight path in your career. If you are not having U-turns, then you are not analyzing if you are on the right path professionally. I have had a lot of U-turns in my life and I used those opportunities to help me achieve what I set out to do.
Helen Arteaga: her story continues

Can you tell us about your work?

I am the director and co-founder of the Plaza del Sol Family Health Center, a division of Urban Health Plan, Inc. It is a federally funded health center that provides quality health care to the residents of Corona, Queens, regardless of their ability to pay for services. When we opened in 2009 we started with 38 patients, and now we have 27,000 patients.

I could not have opened the center without the help of my mentor, Paloma Hernandez. She is the president and CEO of Urban Health Plan, Inc., and she gave me the initial money to open the center and helped us gain federal recognition.

Would you act as a mentor again in the future?

Yes, the energy they give back to you is amazing!

Stephanie Stanley“Sometimes you just need a little push from someone, and she gave me that.” - Stephanie Stanley (CAS ’18)

What are you studying and what are your professional goals?

My major is Global Public Health, with a concentration in Biology and I am on the pre-Med track. I am a sophomore with junior standing and I will be graduating a year early. My goal is to spend that year getting my master’s in Global Public Health before I go to medical school. I hope to find a way to intertwine my public health knowledge with biology as a physician. I am interested in focusing on maternal health or pediatrics.

In high school, I did the People to People program, which taught me about the United Nations global education initiatives and helped me develop my leadership skills.

Can you tell us about your experience having an alumni mentor this semester?

I met Helen at the Plaza del Sol Health Center in Corona, Queens where she is the director. She told me what inspired her to work in healthcare. She is an activist as well as a health care administrator, and I found her story really inspiring. We also bonded over our shared background - Helen is Latina and I am half-Latina.

She invited me to visit her at her office again, to give me a tour of the clinic, and I plan to stay in touch.

What advice did you get?

I am currently a volunteer research assistant at Bellevue Hospital in pediatrics. In our conversations, Helen helped me to focus my professional interests and encouraged me to spend more time doing extracurricular activities that match my goals more specifically. Sometimes you just need a little push from someone, and she gave me that. Now I am looking at my volunteer work in a new way, not just activities that will fill my resume, but something that is in line with my professional passions.

Her example, persevering and successfully reaching her end goal, showed me that no matter what you can achieve your goals. She taught me not to give up, that the possibilities are endless and there is always a way.

If you are interested in participating as an alumni mentor to current CAS students, please fill out this online form:

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