CPE Mentor Spotlight with Christina Sessoms

Christina Sessoms is originally from Federal Way, WA, a suburb of Seattle. She’s a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park, and also teaches a career readiness course to approximately 300 undergraduate students at Maryland. She loves strolling around in Target and Whole Foods, going for runs on the National Mall, and playing Uno!

Why did you become a mentor?

I became a mentor because I don’t vividly remember having one when I grew up. It wasn’t until I got to college that I received one and understood the importance of having guidance from someone who looked like me. To this day, I am really appreciative of my first mentor, Ashleigh.

How long have you been mentoring with CPE?

I have been mentoring with CPE since September 2018!

How have you been able to sustain the relationship with your mentee during COVID-19?

With my mentee in her senior year occurring during COVID, I make a genuine effort to check in with her pretty regularly. We text about every week or so and schedule check-in calls around our schedules which can get difficult since we are both pretty busy. But, we intentionally make it work!

In what ways are you helping her get through this pandemic?

My mentee’s university decided to do in-person classes which honestly stressed me out a little more than it did her. But, she has been doing really good down in North Carolina!

I always try to be a listening ear to whatever is going on in her life! I found it to be really important during this pandemic to ask how I can best support her. Asking her if she needs anything has been my way of starting every text or ending every call. I definitely know the financial struggles that come with being a college student, so I’ll surprise Cash App her a few dollars for lunch every now and again or send her a care package with masks and sanitizer with her favorite snacks. I think it’s the small things that show I am extending care.

What is one of your mentee’s dreams?

One of my mentee’s dreams is to move to Texas and open a daycare for little children!

How are you helping her achieve it?

My mentee has one of the greatest entrepreneurial spirits I know. Outside of her skincare line, she also has a babysitting business. She and I have had countless conversations about charging her worth. I want my mentee to know that her time and labor should be compensated accordingly and to never sell herself short especially as a young Black woman. My support for her is unwavering! In fact, go on over to @sknszn.llc and @bri.thebabysitter on Instagram to get your skin care products and babysitting services!

How has CPE helped you in your mentoring relationship?

CPE has definitely facilitated a healthy relationship between my mentee and I! My program coordinator, Malisha, has guided me during moments of distress but also celebrated with me during mentoring breakthroughs and joy. I really appreciate the curriculum and mentoring guides that go out as well as the programming that help with the bonding between my mentee and I. I see the care that the whole College team has for their students and that’s really heartwarming!

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

Make sure that you go into mentoring understanding that you will grow too! This is not an experience just for your mentee. Even though you are mentoring someone younger than you, your mentee will teach you some things about yourself that may have not been uncovered yet. Lean into that growth and you will thoroughly enjoy the mentoring experience!