LENS Narrate

Lean on Me

Portraits of Students and Their Mentors

In more than 30 years as an educator and scientist around the globe, Faye Gary has seen how mentors can change young lives.

Eager to match the talents of her Case Western Reserve colleagues with East Cleveland students filled with dreams, Gary pitched the idea of a mentorship program to Provost William A. "Bud" Baeslack III, PhD. They then approached East Cleveland City Schools Superintendent Myrna Loy Corley.

Together, they created the Provost Scholars Program to improve academic outcomes of nearby middle and high school students.

Launched in 2013, the program is named for Baeslack, who helped make it a reality. Among the first mentors was Gary, EdD, RN, the Medical Mutual of Ohio Kent W. Clapp Professor of Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Student and mentors spent untold hours at seminars, building academic and career plans and strengthening their bonds.

"It's been one of the most gratifying and meaningful endeavors in my many years teaching at Case Western Reserve," said mentor Jonathan Gordon, JD, a professor at the School of Law.

This year, the first six Provost Scholars graduated from high school—and all are attending college. Meet them and their mentors.


Student Brianna Moore poses with her mentor, nursing professor Faye Gary

Talented in both music and languages, Brianna Moore had her choice of colleges and chose Case Western Reserve, in part, to remain close to a role model she credits for uncovering her potential: mentor Faye Gary.

"Bri has grown into a confident and self-assured young woman. We have lunch nearly every week and we review her academic and career plans. There's a real chemistry between us that you don't find often in life. I will be there with her through this journey at the university." —Faye Gary

A photo of CWRU law professor Jonathan Gordon with mentee Anthony Price

Jonathan Gordon chaperoned mentee Anthony Price on a student trip to China last year, made possible with the help of local sponsors. The group went sightseeing and took culture, history and language classes. Price attends Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

"We experienced a new world together. When you're climbing the Great Wall or at Tiananmen Square, those are memories you have for life. Professor Gordon saw my potential and understood my desire to make a difference in the world. I consider him a dear friend. Our relationship will last a lifetime." —Anthony Price

Student Ryiane Nathan poses with her mentor, CWRU nursing's Patricia McDonald

Ryiane Nathan graduated valedictorian from Shaw High School and attends Spelman College in Atlanta, a school she had wanted to attend since childhood. She believes she is there thanks to the ongoing mentorship of Patricia McDonald, PhD, RN (GRS '95, nursing), assistant professor of nursing.

"We stuck together through thick and thin. We were very honest with each other. She has a quiet strength and has blossomed into a leader in front of my eyes." —Patricia McDonald

A photo of CWRU social work faculty Mark Chupp and his mentee, student Octavia Taylor

Mark Chupp, PhD (GRS '03, social sciences), an assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, spent time with mentee Octavia Taylor at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As they walked and talked, their mutual trust grew. Taylor attends Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

"Dr. Chupp is a role model who helped me build relationships with my family and supporters. He helped me put my best foot forward and showed me that my dreams need to be based in reality so they can come true." —Octavia Taylor

A photo of student Jamar Allen with his mentor, CWRU banking/finance professor Scott Fine

When Jamar Allen applied for college, he had no legal guardian to provide the emotional or financial support to help make his dream possible. That's why mentor Scott Fine, a professor of banking and finance at the Weatherhead School of Management, drove Allen to Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and helped him secure a scholarship during face-to-face meetings.

"He's really there for me and cares about me. He's still helping me, even though the program is over. I can talk to him about anything. He says I'm his son, and that means a lot." —Jamar Allen

CWRU staff member Dennis Harris poses with his mentee, student Dominick Wallace

Drummer Dominick Wallace dreams of playing with jazz groups while working as a music teacher—a goal he set after conversations with his mentor Dennis Harris, state coordinator of the National Youth Sports Program at Case Western Reserve. Now, Wallace practices day and night as a music and education major at Cleveland State University.

"Dominick knows I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in life. He knows I'm from [Cleveland] and don't give up on students—and will never give up on him." —Dennis Harris