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Why a Mentor Matters

By Anthony D’Angelico

There is no limit to how far a mentor can help a student. Kevin Majewski, Ph.D. ’18 is proof of this.

Majewski credits much of his academic journey’s success to the team of supporters he had along the way. After relocating to Montana at a young age, Majewski faced multiple educational barriers. Living in an unstable environment ultimately hindered his ability to get to class, resulting in being expelled at the beginning of his junior year of high school.

It was only when an Upward Bound adviser visited him at work and pushed him to enter a summer bridge program and pursue college that Majewski saw a path forward for his education. Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed to help students like him: first generation and low-income students who aspire to go to college but are limited in their resources.

Following his Upward Bound participation, Majewski graduated from Montana State University Billings in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology — and as student body president. He headed to New Jersey next, earning a master’s degree in psychological counseling from Monmouth University in 2009.

After working for a few years, Majewski considered pursuing a second master’s until his Upward Bound mentor advised him to push for more: a doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy.

Seton Hall University was the clear place to do this; Majewski loved the idea of in-person doctoral courses. As a Seton Hall graduate assistant and member of the Higher Education Graduate Student Association, he worked on projects that supported other students. And since earning his doctorate in 2018, he has directly provided the same kind of educational mentorship he once received, teaching at multiple universities, including Seton Hall, serving as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership program.

Majewski now works as the research manager for the New Jersey State Policy Lab at Rutgers University, studying and disseminating K-12 school practices to improve student learning outcomes in New Jersey.

The Upward Bound program first developed Majewski as a learner; Seton Hall molded him into a leader. “All of us have the potential to achieve our goals,” Majewski says. “Many times there are situational things, barriers. But they’re just that: situational. By persevering with your education or whatever your goal is, you can change your situation. That has a lot of power.”

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