At Grade 11, all our students embark on human-centered, collaborative, and action-based leadership projects as part of the CAS component of the IB Diploma. All these projects are entirely student-led, from conception to execution, with a faculty advisor who oversees the project. This year, in our bid to help our students best achieve their project goals, we are incredibly excited to have external mentors join and guide them in the process. These external mentors are seasoned professionals in their fields, and include entrepreneurs, a university professor, a human rights activist and more.
In the weeks leading up to our Fall Project Week, our Grade 11 students pitched their projects, and the external mentors then chose which projects they wanted to be attached to, based on their interests and fields of expertise. For example, Project Acme, which hopes to implement different forms of technology into agriculture to combat issues such deforestation, is being mentored by Dr. Hideyuki Ida, an Associate Professor specializing in Ecology at Shinshu University, while Project Koe, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, is being mentored by Ms. Kanae Doi, Japan Director of the Human Rights Watch and a human rights activist.
Thus far, our students have benefitted greatly from the mentorship program. Kristine (Class of 2020, Latvia), shared that, “[The mentors] are very experienced and can see the bigger picture, to which we may be oblivious. They help and guide us toward the best possible outcome.” This was a sentiment mirrored by her teammate, Marie (Class of 2020, France), who added that the program has been “an amazing opportunity […] to create a social entrepreneurship project with a mentor who is really experienced in this field. We learn a lot from them, they give us objective and realistic feedback so we can make our project the more feasible possible.”
Indeed, the mentors have been an invaluable resource as our students work to get their projects off the ground! In addition to guiding them in the conceptualization and ideation of their projects, they have been useful in sharing their own professional experiences to aid in more practical aspects. Maddox (Class of 2020, USA) explains that their mentor, Ms. Doi, has taught them how to efficiently run online campaigns, as well as how to use resources strategically to maximize their project’s effectiveness.
We are incredibly thankful to all our mentors for taking the time to be a part of our students’ leadership projects, and we wish everyone continued success as they continue to push on with their goals!
“Having a mentor allows us students to consult to somebody who is more experienced and has been successful with their own projects/ companies before. Our mentor specifically has helped ideate the different ways we can approach an issue that we are trying to solve in the community. The contributions from our mentor were not only unique and new but are approaches that she had evaluated as suitable from her past experiences. I hope to be able to grow my project with the help provided by my mentor through the mentorship program.”
– Beam (Class of 2020, Thailand)