Spark Mentor Spotlight with Tara Desporte

Tara Desporte is a Postbaccalaureate Research Trainee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She grew up in Clarendon, Jamaica but has since called Miami, Baltimore, and now North Bethesda her home.

Why did you become a mentor? 

When I made the move to NIH, I knew I wanted to get involved with the community. Having supportive mentors has made such a lasting impact on my own academic achievements that I knew I wanted to be a part of a community that gave me the opportunity to do the same. I found that here at Spark the Journey!

How long have you been mentoring with Spark the Journey? 

I have been mentoring with Spark the Journey for about eight months.

What activities do you do with your mentee?

We do weekly check-ins to work on different subject areas, attend the amazing functions hosted by Spark, and we’re going to paint pottery soon so I’m looking forward to that!

What has been a highlight of your mentoring experience so far? 

Seeing my mentee improve their grade in a challenging class. Their commitment to finishing the semester strong despite the difficulty was truly inspiring.

What is one of your mentee’s dreams? 

One of their dreams is to go to law school.

How are you helping them achieve it? 

Currently, supporting them with college application prep. This ranges from making a list of potential schools to test-taking tips for their upcoming exams.

How has Spark helped you in your mentoring relationship? 

Spark does a great job of checking in with me to see how my experience is going. I feel supported during my regular meetings with Ranya, my Program Coordinator. (She’s really amazing.) Also, the scheduled mentor events hosted by Spark helps to foster a sense of community amongst the mentors.

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

Do it! Being a mentor has been so fulfilling. I enjoy partnering with an initiative like Spark that supports our youth in such a meaningful way.