Mentors give ISM students look into the real world of chosen fields


Sarah Boutouis

ISM students have a chance to return to normality as they prepare for in-person presentations Wednesday. Along with following COVID-19 precautions, students presenting will be able to share their work with up to 10 people in separate classrooms.

Urja Joshi, Guest Contributor

Students in the Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) program are currently in the process of learning from their respective mentors about the field that they have chosen to study this year. 

“My mentorship experience has really opened up my perspective to new ideas and outlooks I had considered before in my field, and has allowed me to broaden the scope of what I want to achieve with my final product,” senior Nandika Chirala said. “My mentor is extremely kind and knowledgeable, and I have learned a lot of theoretical knowledge from him as well as meaningful applications for my field, behavioral economics.”

Due to COVID-19, the mentorship experience looks different for everyone, as some stay virtual and meet through Zoom while others do actually get to shadow a professional in the real world.

“I am studying health psychology this year in ISM,” senior Adarsh Javaji said. “My mentor is a clinical neuropsychologist who works with both children and adults, so his varied experiences have helped me understand the different ways psychologists can connect with individual patients and the community at large. 

The variety of fields that students study in ISM is huge, ranging from photography to surgery.

“I am studying plastic surgery this year in ISM,” senior Neekie Ansari said. “Being able to go into the office and having the chance to see the real life actions happen and having those hands-on experiences with my mentor, Dr. Obasi, has really helped me understand the field in a much deeper way.”

Students are getting the opportunity to learn from their mentors by shadowing them in their workplace.

“On an average mentor visit, I either go on clinic days or surgery days (I’ve been to both) and I spend the day with Dr. Obasi doing everything that he’s doing,” Ansari said. “He just teaches me more about plastic surgery, and usually I am at the hospital for about six or seven hours! I want to see everything and by being there for such a long time, I get to learn more and see the patients dealing with different issues.”

Other students who can work with their mentors in-person are focusing on something other than shadowing their mentor in the real world.

“This year, with the pandemic in place, my mentorship is largely centered around working on my final product rather than shadowing meetings and appointments,” Javaji said. “However, as an in-person mentee, I am still able to visit my mentor regularly and interview patients occasionally. At our mentor visits, we go over effective research techniques and my mentor’s patient evaluation tests.”