Greehey School of Business connects students through mentorship 

April 26, 2024

Peer-to-peer networking 

by Jayden Mendez 

As an undergraduate at St. Mary’s University, Priscilla Dethmann (B.S. ’01, M.B.A. ’21) was part of a program that resonated with her so strongly, she wanted to share that experience with current students. 

Then a first-year student at the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, Dethmann was paired with a sophomore who served as a student mentor, leaving a lasting impression about the importance of receiving help from your classmates.  

Dede Fioklou-Toulan, left, and Belyn Thompson review notes from Fioklou-Toulan's class as part of the GSB mentorship program.
Dede Fioklou-Toulan, left, and her mentor, Belyn Thompson, review notes as part of the Greehey School of Business Mentorship Program.

Now, as the Greehey School of Business Assistant Dean of Students, Dethmann leads a new mentorship program that pairs lower and upper-level students to help them connect and, hopefully, help new students improve their performance in classes.  

“There’s a sense of accomplishment for the students as well as helping them grow as a person,” Dethmann said. “Helping guide someone through life and academic decisions is a growing experience.” 

The Greehey School of Business Mentorship Program is open to all business students who want to mentor other students or are seeking additional academic support. It is a voluntary program, and first-year students are notified of the opportunity at the beginning of the fall semester.  

There is a brief survey to get to know the students by asking about their interests and goals. With this information, mentors are assigned to students based on their answers to help find a social and academic match.  

Many students have benefited from this program, whether it has helped them find resources or socially adjust to a new environment. 

A first-year Management major from Togo, West Africa, Dede Fioklou-Toulan said her mentor, Belyn Thompson, shares information about campus resources and takes time to study with her during the semester.  

Not knowing anyone when she arrived at St. Mary’s, Thompson has also helped her socialize with more people on campus. 

Though they meet in person a few times a month, Fioklou-Toulan said the interactions have been “an immense help,” and she and Thompson keep in constant contact through text messages. 

“We talk about everything, like what I’ve been going through that week or if I have a question or concern,” Fioklou-Toulan said.  

“Being a mentor is similar to being a big sister. I have two siblings, and it’s the same feeling of pride guiding them and helping them when they need you.” 

Belyn Thompson

Thompson, a sophomore from San Antonio who is a Marketing major, decided to be a mentor because she enjoys helping incoming students, and remembers what it’s like to be in a new environment. 

She also equates the feeling of watching her mentee flourish to that of being an older sibling. 

“Being a mentor is similar to being a big sister,” Thompson added. “I have two siblings, and it’s the same feeling of pride guiding them and helping them when they need you.” 

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