ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Mbachur Mbenga ’11
The Alumni Services department is fortunate to serve wonderful Alumni with various backgrounds and career paths. We often wonder, where would we be without the dedication and appreciation from our most engaged Alumni? Mbachur Mbenga ‘11 is an exceptional Alumna who made her mark not only in the high school program, but also as one of our shining Alumni stars!
Mbachur Mbenga is the true definition of a young professional who takes advantage of resources, responds quickly to emails and is always present at Alumni events. In fact, Mbachur was one of the first Alumni to apply to the 2013 College Internship Program. This is Mbachur’s first time participating and we were happy to place her at an organization that aligns with her career interests. Mbachur is interning at Free Minds Book Club, a nonprofit organization that serves 16 and 17 year old youth who have been charged and incarcerated as adults at the DC Jail. Mbachur plans to start a nonprofit one day, and is learning the ins and outs at a pivotal time in her college career.
Mbachur is a Biology and Child Education Major at Brooklyn College. As Mbachur prepares to enter her junior year this fall, she reflects on the beginning of her professional journey at Urban Alliance, “I had no internship experience prior to Urban Alliance, so the majority of my professional work ethic stemmed from volunteer work. During the summer of my junior year in high school, I began my UA internship at The World Bank Group. During my senior year, I interned at The Advisory Board Company, a global research consulting firm.” Mbachur started that journey in 2010, and has been on a steady path ever since. Mbachur’s early exposure to the professional world, coupled with her on campus leadership experience, is an example of the credentials that we push for our Alumni to acquire. Mbachur is very active on campus and is a member of the Black History Month Committee, Transfer Student Association Club, West African Student Association, and Women’s Advocacy Programs. Mbachur states, “I wanted to contribute, and associate myself with positivity on campus.” On campus involvement is very important for college students and we are proud to see Mbachur’s diverse participation in extracurricular activities.
You remember how much we stressed maintaining relationships with your mentors, and continuing to build your professional network, right? Well, we are so delighted to see Mbachur’s follow through on our much repeated advice. Mbachur keeps in contact with her mentors from her internship at the Advisory Board, and as a result, she has gained access to an even larger network. Mbachur says, “I still keep in contact with my previous internship mentors; we keep in touch via email and Facebook. Staying in touch is very beneficial because mentors help to mold you into professionals, and they are always available for guidance and support, and most importantly, references!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves; Mbachur gets it!
Being a part of one network can land you access to many other networks if you perform well and leave a lasting impression at your internship. For example, Mbachur was such an excellent UA Intern at the Advisory Board that her mentor took notice and advocated on Mbachur’s behalf for more internship openings. Mbachur followed the proper channels and gained an awesome experience with the Macy’s corporate team in New York last summer.
As you can see from Mbachur’s story, hard work, follow through and self-advocacy can open many doors in your professional life. Regardless of your career path, Mbachur’s story shows how persistence can guide you closer to your dreams. Mbachur shares advice for students who are not on the four year college path or who believe that college is not for them. “As long as you keep your connections with your mentors and with Urban Alliance, you should have nothing to worry about regarding college not being for you, or covering the cost of attendance. I’ve had friends in the program that didn’t even know what a college or scholarship application looked like; with the help of Program Coordinators and other staff members from Urban Alliance, those students have received scholarships, and grants, and anticipate going back for the next semester! Staying positive and asking for help when needed, is always the way to go.”
Urban Alliance looks forward to hearing more accomplishments and updates from Mbachur, and many more of our outstanding Alumni!